|Skepticism - Stormcrowfleet
01. Sign Of A Storm
03. By Silent Wings
04. The Rising Of The Flames
05. The Gallant Crow
06. The Everdarkgreen
Skepticism were the first band to be categorized as funeral doom and, judging from their overall sound and atmosphere, someone can easily realize the reasons why. Their compositions haunted the sound of many bands and made them one of the most, if not the most, representative and obscure acts in the funeral doom scene.
After two demos, the more upbeat "Towards My End" (1992) and the closer to the sound for which they are renowned "Aeothe Kaear" (1994), Skepticism managed to release their first full-length album, "Stormcrowfleet", one year after their second demo. The obscurity of Skepticism's atmosphere can be mirrored at first on the cover of "Stormcrowfleet", an utterly blackened cover with shapes of crimson-oriented colors, and then the music takes its toll and surrounds the listener with gloomy soundscapes.
"Stormcrowfleet", with its overall aesthetic being either devout or nightmarish, breathes gentle darkness and unearthly serenity or dismay remaining always dark. Every single instrument participating in the entity of "Stormcrowfleet" interprets its role in the most appropriate way. No, you won't find here affected melodies and great musician-ship in terms of song-writing and interpretation, what you will find is an extremely unique and fabulous atmosphere evoked by the simplicity of the compositions and by the fact that Skepticism really know how to create extremely haunting and slow music, in the tempo of a funeral march, or even slower.
In my humble opinion every instrument is of equal worth on "Stormcrowfleet" since it lends its very own feeling to the sound of the band, leading to the final outcome when all of them pace together as one. I am pretty sure than none of you can imagine Skepticism without their keyboard/organ melodies or that lurking guitar sound. The keyboard melodies evoke either a devout and epic atmosphere or a more menacing one, keeping always a dark approach and a haunting feeling as well through the whole duration of the album. The sound of the guitars is absolutely heavy and the distortion Skepticism use would surpass in any way the sound of the bass lines. And that's why they don't use that instrument, because the sound of the ultra slow guitar riffing manages somehow to play the role of the guitar and the bass guitar at the same time in a succesful way! The drumming is slower than the evolution of lung cancer and it plays an accompanying role, sounding bombastic, lending an imposing feeling to the compositions. And last but not least the vocals with their unearthly deep grunting approach add their very own sense to Skepticism's unique sound, making the overall atmosphere more eerie and powerful.
The production of the album is not the best, but not so bad either, but believe me, it makes this gloomy and haunting feeling of unearthly trance Skepticism's music evokes more intense and vivid. So, as you guessed correctly, there's no need to complain for the not so good production of "Stormcrowfleet". A final statement I'd like to make before ending this review is that there's no other way to listen to "Stormcrowfleet" but as a whole entity, it flows as one no matter what.
Concluding, this is a must-have album for all the funeral doom adorers, it's beautiful, unearthly and inspired at the same time. Just press the play button and lose yourselves in "the rising of the flames"…
Written on 15.12.2005 by
"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."