I first stumbled across Embrace of Silence a year or so ago when a friend introduced me to them via their last EP ‘Inspirational Songs’, and was quite impressed by what I heard. The number of Russian and Ukrainian doom bands who take their influence from early Peaceville doom is increasing so rapidly, that it is predicted that by 2056 the world will be populated entirely by bands covering Anathema’s ‘Sleepless’. I for one would be more than happy to live in such a world, but as they say variety is the spice of life. Embrace of Silence make no attempt to hide their influences as their EP showed, containing (very good) covers of My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Anathema and Silencer songs. Now though, they have delivered their first full length release of their own material, and most importantly, despite the influences, they have managed to put their own stamp on things.

The funereal pace of ‘The Gloom of Somnolent Night’ combined with the deep growl of Igor Zhurzha immediately draws the comparison with early My Dying Bride, especially with the addition of violins in the middle of the track. Despite the clear comparison; even considering an element almost directly lifted from the former’s ‘She Is The Dark’, they still manage to retain their own identity…even given the mournful clean vocal part that sounds unnervingly like Aaron Stainthorpe… Ok so they may borrow heavily from others, but the end product sounds very good indeed. The production and mix is just a little rough, but not so much that it detracts from the sound as it does with Mournful Gust. Here, the rougher edge gives a feeling of uncertainty which complements the sound and combines to give a very effective listening experience.

The guitars are admirably handled by Yuriy Sivkov along with Igor, and the focus is on the melody rather than theatrics or solos, with a pervading sense of melancholy, punctuated with bursts of aggression. This is best showcased on songs such as ‘The Slave of Forgotten Graves’ and ‘Way to Salvation’. One of the best things about this album is that despite what is often a ponderous pace and style, the music never manages to lose your interest. There are a lot of layers to the composition and a real craft about the songs and it draws you in over the course of the album, especially as they are stamping their authority over the sound on ‘In Angel’s Hand’ and ‘I’m Your Jesus’, relying less on their influences and giving their own creativity a head of steam.

Embrace of Silence have progressed in leaps and bounds since their release of ‘Inspirational Songs’, and they sound tighter and more confident now. As a full length debut, this really does surpass expectations, and I really hope that they carry on progressing at this rate, because the next album could be legitimately brilliant if so. If you are a fan of My Dying Bride and Katatonia in their early 90’s incarnations, then you will definitely enjoy ‘Leaving The Place Forgotten By God’. The influences may well be obvious, but if they manage to inspire to greatness, who can argue?

(8/10 Lee Kimber)