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Archdruid - IV Award winner

by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 23 November 2018, 6:41 AM

ARCHDRUID is a Canterbury-bass Psychedelic/Doom Metal who are self-releasing their first full length instrumental Doom album, “IV.”  It is an instrumental album and its extremely impressive for a couple of different reason.  First, the music is just drums and bass.  It can be hard to imagine Doom without some thick, electric riffs but it isn’t a problem here.  The fact just two guys with two instruments can create a 53-minute Doom opus is impressive enough for this album to warrant a listen.  I’m not sure how others feel, but I don’t usually think of bass and drums as mood setting instruments; they are emotive of course and definitely needed for a strong rhythm foundation but on “IV” they encompass everything, including atmosphere.

The other impressive fact about this album is that it was written and recorded simultaneously so it is very much a stream of consciousness movement, which was the mindset of the band during the process, noting that “The present is all that matters.  We seek to capture that essence—the realization that the current moment is all that exists.” The result is a single piece of music across two tracks that is like an ever-flowing stream: it perpetual moves forward and lets the future become the present, changing as it will.  It’s a very unique concept and one that translates surprisingly well to Doom, a genre that is often time self-indulgent in its gloom.

The opening movements are a sparse and spacey collection of scattered percussion and wondering bass tones.  It drifts in and out of these psychedelic textures very easily as the slow rumble builds up.  The more ambient bass tones turn into melody and then into straight up Doom heaviness.  By the time the six-minute mark rolls around, bass and drums have injected a lot of variety into the landscape.  Their sound is a mix between older style Doom and more extreme versions like ASSUMPTION; they can go from trippy, to bluesy, to heavy as easy as any band I’ve heard. As one would expect, the album gets even further into these reaches during the second part.  About three minutes in, the bass and drums go into a tight groove but end up in more hypnotic pastures a few minutes later; Coulon’s drums keep things grounded and a tad bit frenzied but his work allows the band to stretch their sound without it going too out there for enjoyment.  They wander off the beaten path but never get lost to the point where home is no longer an option.

I found this album to be a unique and wholly interesting experience, one that any fan of Doom or instrumental music should definitely look into; it comes out Dec. 14th of this year on their bandcamp page.  I do wonder what else the band could achieve if they incorporated vocals and guitar, but it is hard to say if it would help their sound or hurt it. There are a lot of good ideas presented here and I’m hoping they can continue to expand them for future releases.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. IV (Part 1)
2. IV (Part 2)
Callum Whiting – Percussion
Dominic Coulon – Bass Guitar
Record Label: Independent


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