Procession have come a long way. From Chile to Sweden and back again to Chile to record this album, in fact…It has also been four long years since their magnificent sophomore album ‘To Reap The Heavens Apart’, in part presumably due to main man, vocalist and guitarist Felipe Plaza’s role in the Destroyer 666 gang. In that time it also seems to me that, once more, true doom has gone into deep hibernation as both sludge pretenders and 70s wannabes fight over the word.
With Doom Decimation it’s fair to say that Procession are here to remind us all where that word truly belongs.
With ‘The Warning’ rumbling in on a bass heavy mid tempo doom riff, crowned with Procession’s trademark melodic lead guitar run melody, we thunder into ‘When Doomsday Has Come’ and Felipe’s distinctive voice rings out. I’ve missed that so much and he is in excellent form here: There may be a few (and only a few) guys with slightly purer voices but no one uses their voice better – expressive, melodic, with a great range from sombre bass to soaring tenor and with a gravel littered edge that grounds the whole song. Magic, pure magic. The production is perfect Procession too, clear and glistening but with a natural touch.
For those of you have never had the joy of hearing this band, take the previous single ‘Lonely Are The Ways Of The Stranger’ as a perfect showcase. A slow, dark and majestic opening riff with deep vocals rising to a heart rending peak. The sound is that base Candlemass epic canvas but with Saint Vitus grit and with a much greater nudge into mid tempo heavy metal, a touch of Sabbath both from Ozzy period in the dense, slow riffing to Dio period in the instinctive and compelling guitar leads and melody, occasionally just a flash of Judas Priest slow stomp. Put together with the unique songwriting, that voice and the dark and somehow utterly rebellious and anti religious atmosphere you have Procession.
Having heard and seen a reasonable bit of music and film from Chile, there is something of the dark and gothic-with-a-small-g that mixes with the flash of blood, fire and passion of the country that simply burns like embers at the heart of Procession. Listen to the glorious ‘All Descending Suns’, how they move from tempo to tempo so fluidly and the distinctive, almost flamenco style electric guitar dancing below the riff. Sink into the doom of ‘As They Reached The Womb’ and the vivid picture the lyrics paint. This is just a Chilean masterclass to the world.
‘One By One They Die’ is about as epic a closing song as the title suggests. There is a Solitude Aeturnus grasp of melancholy here, but again they fill the song with their own sharp outlook, their own stubborn, keen dark eyed focus. It’s a fitting way out.
Procession simply define doom here. This is dark, even cynical views into the world but with a refusal to buckle or break. They burn hot like few other doom bands have ever succeeded in doing and they have a dark flavour all their own. It is so good to have them back and in career best form to boot. Frankly this is peerless.
Doom or be doomed.