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Soulmass - Let Us Pray review

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Band: Soulmass
Album: Let Us Pray
Release date: February 2023

01. A Call Beyond
02. Sympathy's Desire
03. Below The Lake
04. Ominous Prayer
05. Vile Executioner
06. Where The Crow Feathers Fall
07. Nightmares Reign

For any gamers out there that are into the Dark Souls saga specifically, and of course if the death doom genre appeals to you as well, perhaps you would be interested with this Bloodbourne-inspired death doom release by Soulmass, Let Us Prey.

Let Us Prey is the third full-length release by the U.S. death doom act Soulmass, a band consisting of the mastermind duo behind the project, Bryan Edwards (vocals), and Brett Windnagle (multi-instrumentalist), but has this duo done enough on Let Us Prey to set this album apart from their previous two efforts, or could we expect more of the same? Well, apart from the fact that the theme is centred around possibly the toughest and most frustrating RPG in computer game history, it actually has a relatively simple, yet solid, death doom-based structure, much in the same manner as their previous efforts. There isn't anything out of the ordinary at first, with typical mid-tempo (often a little over mid-tempo) heavy, sludgy riffs, and death growls, but the closer you listen, the more it begins to differ.

Just to give you some indication of the album's scale, three of the seven tracks featured reach the ten-minute barrier, so this album ain't exactly on the short side. This means the band needed to be careful not to overdo things, as the album could well have fallen dangerously close to being in that stale territory. However, the three longer songs, "Below The Lake", "Where The Crow Feathers Fall" and "Nightmares Reign", do have their interesting moments, featuring slight progressive and gothic touches, particularly the noticeable gothic element from the opening piano section on "Where The Crow Feathers Fall". If there's one thing those epics don't do, it's fall into the trap of sounding overly repetitive, but I'm still not convinced that was enough, as it's the shorter tracks for me that take the centre stage, where occasionally the duo opt to mix things up from time to time, like for instance “A Call Beyond”, where a surprising orchestra synth passage is present.

Now, there are several flaws you can't help but take into consideration. The riff melodies aren't all that memorable for a start; not that they are a total disaster of course, they just seem to be lacking that overall conviction from the band's previous releases. Quite often, I find the riffs become overly sluggish and uninteresting, particularly on the lengthier tracks. The synths, on the other hand, make up for that a great deal as they help contribute towards the haunting atmospheric soundscape that Soulmass have opted to create, which is centred around the album's dark, mysterious and gothic theme in the first place. So perhaps they took a more direct atmospheric approach as opposed to a melodic one, which I can understand. The production in general is mixed very well, even with the overall sound being a little on the thin side; each element is still clear and is able to shine, which is good considering the album is self produced from the duo themselves. One of the main highlighted elements of the album is Edwards’ vocal performance; his menacing growls undeniably make up for the album's overall lack of aggressiveness.

Without a doubt Let Us Prey is far from a fail; it doesn't necessarily leave you wanting to pray for more, but even if expectations may not have been entirely met, there are still positives to be taken from this. Now if you're not a gamer, or not familiar with the game Bloodbourne, you needn't worry, the concept works fine anyhow. They do a decent enough job at creating those eerily gothic atmospherics, where you as a listener can vision your own fantasy settings in your head.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 7

Written on 15.02.2023 by And well there you have it.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 40 users
15.02.2023 - 23:30
Since Bloodbourne is one of my all time favourite games (and not that hard imo ) of course I had to check this out. I must say that I like it and I will check out their previous albums too. Pretty neat of the band to upload the whole album on YouTube with the lyrics as well.

And for those who like video game themed metal might wanna check out technical deathcore band Spire of Lazarus (formerly known as Dayum). They've released three albums based on Darks Souls, God of War and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within respectively (plus a stand alone Rick and Morty song for good measure).
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