Those of us who were touched by early Doom Metal cannot deny that we miss it. The dense and oppressive darkness and despair that used to reflect our deepest emotions brought to life by the raw and intense sounds that despite slow tempos were never boring due to this shameless display of pure melancholy. We miss it, and some contemporary bands have tried to bring it back, often with little or no success.
Italy’s Svlfvr were among the brave who intended to reclaim this 90’s doom with their debut album, Shamanic Lvnar Cvlt, a well-thought idea that despite its mistakes could lead to something great and innovative. The influences of this album are evident in each of their songs, reminding of early My Dying Bride, Tiamat and Moonspell, but soon the gothic and modern elements come into view.
Vocalist Dionysos stands out with his extreme vocals, which sound unique and full of emotion, providing more depth and heaviness to a very melodic and relatively simple sound. Guitar riffs are quite pleasant to the ears, leading the songs through a gloomy and heavy stream of melody, and although not very elaborate, they show pretty good song-writing skills. Chord progressions, on the other hand, tend to be predictable in the slower parts of the songs, creating a gothic atmosphere together with the keyboard notes. Drums sound muffled and poorly produced for the most part, which makes this album lack the magic that this genre normally has to offer in the area of percussion.
The third song, which bears the album title, is particularly interesting, as it shows how creative these guys can be in composition as well as execution. The succession of riffs is creative and unique, mixing some elements of black metal in the faster parts and sticking to the old doom basis in slower parts, creating a dynamic which balances the melodic and the extreme in a smart way. It also displays a bass solo, which adds a lot of spice to the track. It would have been a great song without the clean singing parts, which stand out like blemishes on smooth skin. The last track of the album, “Dying Stars of Empathy,” is almost 20 minutes long and has a very long and slow guitar solo in which you can distinctively hear the bass and makes this song a nice and soothing listening experience.
The two big mistakes in this otherwise good album are clean singing and less that great production. The clean vocal choruses throw the listener out of the mood as soon as they start, as they sound unprofessional and overly contemporary, at times reminding one of metalcore or emo music, contrasting with Dionysos’ wonderful extreme vocals. Despite this, these Italians are on the right track, having shown that they are able to write and perform unique and good music.
Release date: 04-08-2016
Reviewer: Isabel Osanna Adujar