DoomedContinuing Pierre Laube’s distorted vision of doom infested death metal is his fourth release and still possesses that despairing atmosphere of utter dread. Thematically the album is similar to the last one with the cover art being a nightmarish scene in bile and obsidian like colours and when you look closely at the imagery you see various little scenes within the scene itself; something I admire tremendously is this attention to detail. Joining the guy are various guests on vocals such as Ed Warby (Hail Of Bullets) and Johan Ericson (Draconian) to name a couple of familiar names.

Starting with a very morose piano “Paradoxon” is distraught, reeling in total anguish before the doom laden death rumbles in but coursing a path of hopelessness and gloominess. The growling vocals are haunting as well, which I know sounds weird but they seem to slither around under the guitar work and of course the sludgy bass work. Listening to this album the use of pronounced stereo effects so that you can hear things shifting around is great, something that is not done enough these days since the left and right stereo of twin guitars many years ago. Adding clean vocals to the mix offers another warped twist in the music that is funereally slow. Continuing his theme of having a song based on the title of the previous album sees “Our Ruin Silhouettes” begin with a psychedelic distorted guitar hook peppering an elongated drum fill build up. As the tune develops it has a slightly faster feel within the parameters of doom-death as his growling emanations are similar to old bands like Fester and Abhorrent.

I love albums that embrace every instrument and strategically offer sections where the musicianship can be absorbed as “Euphoria’s End” begins with cymbal taps and fills before lurching the song like a basaltic lava flow into crunching despondency. Pierre’s ability to write such different songs yet manage to keep every one of them engaging is extremely difficult as “The Triumph – Spit” starts with crows cawing and a fade in of an ultra slow guitar riff with gnarly vocals belching forth. The subtle guitar hooks offer some light relief as they are tonally adjacent to the aura of the song. Added also is a lone choir vocal that enables the song to delve further into sombre murkiness before erupting into a blast phase that is berserk. Most of the songs have guest vocalists and “Looking Back” has the couple I mentioned earlier as this song offers translucent misery similar to old Katatonia, a comparison I’ve made before on previous reviews of his albums for the website. The riff is soaked in melancholy, before the dolefully deep vocals are introduced, the gradual deformation via the guitar work and its various hooks make the tune menacing and deeply foreboding as some keyboards are layered into the mix, creating a sci-fi feel. The clean vocals are glorious draped in poignancy they are sublimely sang as the tempo continues its inexorable path along doom-death dirge. Closing the album is “I’m Climbing”, the shortest tune of the six it begins in familiar territory and seems to go nowhere as the growling vocals are glued to some banshee like screeches courtesy of Anny Bauermeister whose tone is terrifying. The contrasting vocal styles equip the tune to taunt the listener via various guitar pieces that seem void of passion preferring to thrust the listener into bottomless inhuman chasms devoid of humanity and compassion.

As always Pierre Laube has managed to amaze me again with his adroit sonic craftsmanship, his aptitude for writing grief-stricken songs is masterful as this release will leave black tears of desolation weeping down your face.

(8.5/10 Martin Harris)