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Pillars - Onward to Nothingness

Onward to Nothingness
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 24 September 2018, 6:57 AM

PILLARS is a French Doom Metal band who have just released their first full length album, “Onward To Nothingness.”  The overall sound is a mixture of different sub types of Doom; the guitars are definitely from Sludge Metal influences and the song lengths/format suggest Funeral Doom as well.  However, CLEMENT’s vocals are more Traditional Doom, sang in a clean but gruff approach DISASTER’s bass and waves of simple distortion from Dje’s guitars start up the first track, “The Fearsome Path.”  By the time the dam breaks and super dense riffs push through, Clement crawls out of the swampy muck and the band goes into full swing.

Vultures,” is a track that reaches over ten minutes in length, allowing for more sludgy riffs than your brain can immediately handle.  For just being the only guitarist, Dje’s sound is extremely well known in its presentation, encompassing everything from meaty groove, to darkened sludge, to even leads.  DISASTER and drummer JJ must both be commended for never allowing the sound to leak out into a hollow nothingness, even when the guitar is less present during the leads, such as the five minute mark. “Pale Horse Rider,” is a slow, rumbling dirge of a song that is the musical equipment of a person being buried alive.  This song is suffocating, the music trying to squeeze itself out of the void all at once, coming out the other side bound together in a profound reality they never escaped the darkness in the first place. The 3:45 mark really struck me as powerful because of Clement’s tortured singing/shouts that were pushed further up front by the muddy bass and breakwater of the drums.

The title track is a bit different as instead of vocals it contains various sound bites and strange noises.  I would had preferred actual vocals but the song isn’t really less effective without them.  Taking the title in consideration, I think they were going for a really dismal sound here and the use of unconventional means for vocals did indeed bring that sound to life.  The song sounds a bit Gothic Doom to me, like a more sludge version of MY DYING BRIDE, and it was a good risk for them to incorporate a bit of a different mood here. The shortest track is the fifth one, “The Mourner,” and its length gives the listener a bit of a rest from the longer songs while also keeping their attention.  This track is a bit to the point and more focused than the others and it is something every Doom fan would enjoy.

The final track, “Swarms From The Swamp,” is the longest and best track on the album.  It is immediately a definite trek through waters so muddy, you can barely swim. Clement’s vocals are especially dark and chilled here during the stanza’s and really grimy when the guitars really come out to what amounts as a chorus.  No doubt this is the sludgiest Doom album I’ve heard this year.  If you would like a soundtrack to the approaching darkness that brings with it all the scary things it drags underfoot while it works towards consuming you, this album is what you want.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Fearsome Path
2. Vultures
3. Pale Horse Rider
4. Onward To Nothingness
5. The Mourner
6. Swarms From The Swamp
Clement – Vocals
Dje – Guitars
Disaster – Bass
JJ – Drums
Record Label: Seeing Red Records


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