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Old Night – Pale Cold Irrelevance Award winner

Old Night
Pale Cold Irrelevance
by Jose MaCall at 19 December 2017, 9:58 AM

Doom Metal: The swampy, sluggish, red-eyed, sewer-dwelling cousin of Heavy Metal. While it varies from densely crushing to melodically somber to irresistibly groovy, there is no wrong turn when it comes to exploring this sluggishly paced subgenre. OLD NIGHT presents us with “Pale Cold Irrelevance”; something we’ve all felt at the work place. Is this a release as grim as the encroaching fog on its cover?

Well, not quite. OLD NIGHT delivers a somber, ethereal requiem at the lurching pace of a sickly traveler succumbing to the elements. The music isn’t quite ragged or rasping but it bellows forth in a sorrowful tone that commands attention to the slogging pace. The production value here is absolutely solid. The bass lines are deep and velvety. They’re joined by well-balanced drums that handle a lot of cymbals without any of it becoming too sharp for the rest of the composition. The guitars are phenomenal as well. Dense, crushing riffs drive the album as wailing solos and melodies tear into the tracks like a pack of predators wearing down their prey. It’s a slow, brutal, ritual execution. This isn’t the frenzied battlefield that is Death Metal; it’s slowly being lowered into boiling oil. It’s the mesmerized crowd watching a hanging prisoner twitch their last. It’s the lonely accused, crying in protest as they light the stake ablaze. What I’m saying is that it’s not necessarily one I’d blast to hype myself up, however it is still worth cranking due to how rich everything sounds.

Another make or break on this one is the vocals. Get ready for cleans. That’s right, several vocalists are in the band however most of the singing is handled by one dude who has vocals somewhere in the realm of IRON MAIDEN/ALICE IN CHAINS/CANDLEMASS style singing. There are a few harsher growls that I felt were criminally underused. This is all preference however, and honestly there isn’t that much singing as it is. Most of the songs are long instrumental voyages with hypnotically entrancing rhythms and loose, soaring solos. There’s plenty of time for each song to unravel as things progress and build up in each of these epic length tracks (the shortest still being over 7 minutes long). When vocals do appear they are usually bookending songs. While cleans are pretty much a staple in Doom Metal, I’m not a huge fan but these never overstayed their welcome. They fit the mood and atmosphere of the music.

Lyrically, there seemed to be a lot of angst from what I could make out. Nothing particularly motivational, but I don’t imagine Doom Metal is known as being gym workout music (I try not to imagine gyms).  This is mournful music for grey times. It is fog-filled cemeteries and decaying ruins, a moody assortment of bittersweet melodies for secluded places. While Doom Metal comes in several flavors of low energy, this one is a particularly lethargic and melancholy. The plus here is that despite being on the more depressing side of things, the musicianship completely carries this out of the realm of sappy and into thoughtful. Despite the sorrowful feel, the level of heaviness is still maintained via steady stream of devastating riffs and wailing solos. Every track was great on its own and the entire album as a whole stood out for me, no bad or boring songs or filler. Which is what for me, makes this a necessary addition to any collection for a fan of the genre.

This one is for fans of the gloomier depths of Doom: MOURNFUL CONGREGATION, ALTAR OF OBLIVION, CANDLEMASS, SAINT VITUS, ACID BATH, etc.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Last Child of Doom
2. Mother of All Sorrows
3. Thieves of Innocence
4. Architects of Doom
5. Something is Broken
6. Contemptus Mundi 
Lineup:
Matej Hanžek - Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitars
Ivan Hanžek - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Bojan Frlan - Lead Guitar
Luka Petrović – Bass, Backing Vocals
Nikola Jovanović – Drums
Record Label: Naturmacht Productions
     


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