Sumptuous, billowing melodic doom here from this young Ukrainian outfit, ‘All Alone with the Thoughts’ is a surprisingly deft and mature debut. The album artwork, title and song titles may be a little bit floppy (‘Being Lonely’? Really?) but we can put that down to a combination of youth and language barrier – what really matters is the music and these guys (and one girl) really know how to forge some distinctive hymns.
The seemingly ubiquitous spectre of early-mid period Swallow the Sun of course looms large here and with the driving rhythms and prominent sense of melancholia that laces this record, that is to be expected. Nevertheless, Torrens Conscientium very much add their own unique stamp to this well-worn approach, carving out deceptively simple yet distinctive, subtle melodies and lacing their songs with tasteful synth atmospherics.
Take for example the first track proper, ‘The Black Fog’ – the opening clean guitar chords chime wonderfully, the arpeggios presented demonstrating a sense of melody that never plumps for the obvious or the trite. They evolve into a stirring refrain that plays out across the track’s full length, presenting the listener with a real musical journey. Sergei Korolyov’s vocals are delivered strongly, switching from a guttural roar to a viscous snarl with ease.
It’s a theme that continues throughout the album – ‘Immersion’ again delivers some fantastic clean guitar work, the doleful, crashing chords that underpin them lending genuine weight to the song. Synths simmer, pulled down fairly low in the mix but always there to lend an extra nuance to the ambience. Indeed, they bloom to fruition on ‘An Evening Behind’, the slowest and most atmospheric number here with billowing choirs framing the backdrop to some emotive guitar leads.
The consistency here is impressive and it’s only the slightly ‘by-the-numbers’ air of ‘Hitcher’ where things dip ever so slightly. Things pick up with the affecting lead motif of ‘Being Lonely’, another sturdy song that segues into a reflective instrumental atmospheric closing piece ‘The Dawn’.
Torrens Conscientium certainly aren’t doing anything particularly new on ‘All Alone with the Thoughts’ and their brand of melodic, wistful doom metal is unlikely to find favour with the more obscure, funereal and ‘filthy’ side of the genre but what they have done here is create a cohesive, considered collection of well-composed songs. The band’s undeniable ability to pen a memorable melody is worth the time of anyone who has Swallow the Sun, Pantheist or Evadne CDs in their collections and the rich, warm sound of the album is suitably immersive. Nicely done.
(7.5/10 Frank Allain)