This one man doom death project from Germany run by the creative but monstrously deformed brain of Pierre Laube is a slow terrifying assault on your senses that begins with “Downward” and some truly guttural vocals that fit the music perfectly which mixes the density of sludge ridden bass with the melody of more traditional doom outfits and even some of the older doom-death outfits like Katatonia, Paradise Lost and Anathema. As expected the pace crawls along like wading through tar as the guitar melody tiptoes on top teasing you with an escape before dancing away. The part I found most enthralling on this album was the varying vocal styles which take on that mournful clean gothic sadness during the opener and could easily fall flat but don’t and in fact remind of Johan Edlund on “Wildhoney” and “A Deeper Kind Of Slumber” as bizarre as that may seem.
As we enter “Alone We Stand” a bass line initialises the song before yielding to reveal some very nice Opeth like guitar hooks and melody, and I mean old Opeth not the new shit. The pace saunters along without a care in the world like an enormous giant with all eternity to pass by, the song develops a certain swagger on the beat. Even on a more or less neutral bass stereo system the bass has a seismic quality that gently but effectively underpins the whole album alongside the sweeping guitar melodies which will bring a tear to your eye, similar to that of Novembre in some respects though this album is hundred fold heavier than said Italian band.
“The Ancient Path” also the title of the debut album, begins with some rather lovely guitar work and gentle drums before delving headfirst into despondent despairing doom sludge as the vocals are barbarically horrific. The schizoid switch to a clean haunting and eerie style defines what Pierre is all about with his music. The ultra slow “Leave” begins with some exquisite guitar work not too far off The Gathering’s “Mandylion” period, with the vocals growling slowly like a wounded unpredictable beast. As the song expands and changes vocal style the tempo increases a fraction for a laid back despairing melody with a solid rock beat undercurrent within it. Closing this formidable album is “Ах ты, степь широкая” which has a pagan feel with creepy uniform chanting and an uplifting feel before fading out to leave over seven minutes of silence (why do bands do this?) before the tune resurfaces but totally redressed with wind instrumentation and a church like feel that creates a more classical atmosphere than metal.
(8/10 Martin Harris)