When an album is called “Desolate Grief”, it’s not very hard to guess what the music will sound like. Dutch doomsters Faal have put a fitting name on their latest album, which sounds bleak and devoid of hope, while radiating an atmosphere of utter despair. There is no happiness here, yet those who are into (funeral) doom/death metal can rejoice.

For fans of Faal, this album will have been long anticipated, six years after their previous full-length album. There are no surprises here: an intro and four long songs, clocking around ten minutes each and providing a solemn, traditional approach to the genre. While the musical delivery is well-produced, but not too special, the vocals are outstanding. William Nijhof’s growls are deep and impressive, while his screams are menacing and provide a foreboding aspect to Faal’s music.

However, in the end, it’s the songwriting that matters the most and here I find Faal occasionally failing to deliver. “Desolate Grief” is definitely solid enough, but it lacks the magnificent riffs and devastating leads to stand out in a genre that has birthed an impressive amount of quality releases in recent years.

(6.5/10 Lykle Thijssen)