Smoulder - Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring review
|Album:||Times Of Obscene Evil And Wild Daring|
|Release date:||April 2019|
01. Ilian Of Garathorm
02. The Sword Woman
03. Bastard Steel
04. Voyage Of The Sunchaser
05. Shadowy Sisterhood
06. Black God's Kiss
It's short, sweet, and blends epic doom and traditional heavy metal. It references Dungeons & Dragons and A Song Of Ice And Fire. It's Smoulder's Times Of Obscene Evil & Wild Daring.
Doom metal is a pretty large umbrella term that defines a lot of stuff that doesn't sound alike. There's very little in common between this album and Skepticism's Stormcrowfleet or Paradise Lost's Icon. Somewhere in that large spectrum come bands which sound like the genre at its inception. No, not like Black Sabbath, but rather doom as it emerged from the swords and witchcraft type of heavy metal. Stuff like Pagan Altar, Witchfinder General, and most importantly Cirith Ungol. So here come Smoulder with their debut.
Right off the gate, I'll admit that the best thing about this album is Sarah Ann's vocal performance. Female vocals in doom metal are associated more with the occult psych or with gothic sides of the spectrum rather than this epic side, so hearing her vocals (which aren't especially soaring or powerful, but still manage to maintain such a strong presence and a commandeering attitude) does bring a lot of memorability and impact to the record as a whole. So taking aside the album's strongest quality, the rest doesn't crumble, but it doesn't really live up to it either.
Times Of Obscene Evil & Wild Daring is a good album, but it's not really a great one. Everything outside of the vocals feels well done but it lacks a certain oomph that would make me think "Damn, this is great". It's in that gray area where I can't really realize why it doesn't work as good as it should. The riffs are heavy and epic, the drums do more than their fair share of work, there's some pacing dynamics in the songwriting, with the first half being of the more epic and faster nuance and the last slower and gloomier. But it doesn't do much even with these taken into account, I feel like the epic feeling of the record wouldn't be half as strong if it wasn't for the cover art by Michael Whelan.
I trust Smoulder to make better albums in the future solely based on how earnest this album feels and how honest their fascination with fantasy and the past feels. "Bastard Steel" even reminded me that Jon Snow used to be an awesome character with more that two lines. Even though I may feel it more underwhelming that it is, I can't deny neither the awesome vocals nor the potential for even greater battles.
Lots of other people seem to really like it so maybe it's just me who's not feeling it. Only one way to find out.
||Written on 29.05.2019 by|
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