Dismantling Devotion

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. A Life Less Lived
02. Dead Air
03. A Dream Resigned
04. All We Had
05. Solitary Refinement
06. Strive to See
07. Lies that Bind
08. Dismantling Devotion

Get yourself in the mood for this one; and I'm not talking about the state of mind that accompanies 4th of July celebrations or beach volleyball games. Fans of modern, melancholic doom that get their kicks from albums by the likes of MY DYING BRIDE and KATATONIA will surely dig "Dismantling Devotion". It is 53 minutes of metallically heavy and sorrowfully suffocating songwriting.

Though the MDB and KATATONIA comparisons work to clue in diehard fans of the doom genre's more majestic end, a NOVEMBERS DOOM vibe is present as well, at least as far as the guitar-based approach and general heaviness are concerned. The ethereality is present, but tends to be woven into the riff-thickened mix. Mammoth riff crush and weeping melodic leads tend to be the focal point, while the moments of light picking make one think of snowflakes falling slowly to the ground.

Opening the album with an eight-minute track, "A Life Less Lived", is not surprising when one realizes that the remaining cuts fall roughly into the five-to-seven-minute range. The songs are not meant to be eaten as snacks; each is a full-course meal. Though the harsh and anguished growls are the dominant vocal style here, the occasional switches to an airy OPETH-esque clean vocal — done particularly well on the brooding crawl of "Solitary Refinement" — work magnificently to grab the listener's attention and give one pause for reflection on the beauty within. While tempos never exactly race, the moments when the pace picks up and a kick drum powered rhythm grabs you by the throat or an extra weighty riff takes over (i.e. "Dead Air" and "A Dream Resigned") make the impact sufficiently forceful to disrupt any thoughts of the hypnotic variety. Little things like the percussive sections of "All We Had" make a big difference as well. Somehow closing with an instrumental (the title track) is wholly appropriate, a grand end to an icy cold album. It isn't for everyone, is it? That's part of what makes it special.

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