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Hellish Form - Remains review

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Band: Hellish Form
Album: Remains
Release date: June 2021

01. Your Grave Becomes A Garden
02. Ache
03. Shadows With Teeth
04. Another World

You take a bit of Body Void. You take a bit of Keeper. You get Hellish Form.

More specifically Hellish Form is a duo comprised of Will Ryan of Body Void and Jacob Lee of Keeper, both some of the most crushing doom bands out there, the former being one whose releases are getting it more and more attention lately, while the latter is one of those bands that just need to release their debut album already. The two bands did release a split together back in January 2020, which I covered here, and it seems like that split was the catalyst for the formation of the duo. I sadly couldn't fit their debut, MMXX in my reviewing schedule back then, but this one is the first to be released by a label, namely Translation Loss Records.

Obviously someone familiar with both Body Void and Keeper can pretty much guess what the overall sound and vibe of Remains would be, and it's not like "Hellish Form" sounds exceptionally cheerful. This is slow, menacing, and tortured music. This feels like an even more extreme version of the sound that both bands are handling, meaning that they take the doom into a more "funeral"-like direction, especially in terms of pace and grandeur. The vocals, provided by both members, are mainly what still give it that tortured feeling, something more akin to noisy doomy sludge rather than the usual for funeral doom, while the slow riffing can almost cross into noisy drone.

And did I mention the grandeur? There is a lot of synth work gives it a shimmering dramatic flair that threatens to cross the border into gaze territories at times, while just adding an uplifting contrast to the general crushingness of the sound, and all of it perfectly blends in James Plotkin's production. It's used sparingly, but to great effect. It's that interplay that keeps Remains from being an album too slow for its own good. Even at barely over 40 minutes of runtime, there's still a sense that the sound is great but there's not enough to keep it constantly engaging, but that's mostly saved by said interplay. Mostly. The relative lack in pace changes as well as the monotonous songwriting is still a detriment that gets harder to ignore.

Remains is still a pretty unique funeral doom record, despite its flaws. But then again, when was funeral doom ever not overly slow and monotonous? As long as it's crushing and it has the emotional impact, Remains' pitfalls aren't specific to it.

Written on 16.07.2021 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.

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