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Severed Boy - Tragic Encounters

Severed Boy
Tragic Encounters
by Matt Bozenda at 08 September 2021, 12:48 AM

More committed Metal historians might be able to determine where DIY was established as its own subgenre rather than as mere methodology. No matter the who-what-when of it, it’s here to stay, and that’s something none of us hope we can say about the new subgenre being so tragically foisted upon us: Quarantine. When a band self-applies that moniker, you’ll know exactly when it was made, you’ll have a good idea of how it was made, and before you hear the first note you just know it will be rather grim.

And forget grim, most of the time what you’re hearing is just plain shitty. That is thankfully not the case with the pandemic-born “Tragic Encounters”, the new EP by Boston-area superduo SEVERED BOY. Manned by members of PHANTOM GLUE and LUNG LUST, what we have here is a Death/Doom thunderhorse which charges out of the gate and gallops to the finish line.

Beginning with an eponymous opener, the title track manages to far exceed the low expectations set by their colleagues, and firmly marks them for the Death/Doom band as advertised. Everything seems to really get rolling for “Pooling”, an excellent Death oriented track with an almost vintage edge to it. That’s followed by “Agony And Despair”, an Ambient Doom affair which would be better suited on a full album rather than an EP.

All fears are firmly allayed by “Sparse Forest Of Memories”; this is about as good as it gets when combining Death and Doom, heavy but quick like a lumbering troupe of Ironbreakers, as near to a masterpiece as makes no difference and a shoo-in for the All-2021 Playlist. Closing things down is “Mindless Future Breaker”, which while not a standout track itself, is a skill showcase, particularly on the outro’s bridge, bringing the EP to a satisfying conclusion.

Sometimes you can anticipate the stumbles and awkward pauses in Death and Doom when they’re played separately, never mind together, and it takes a certain level of professionalism to beat those anticipations. SEVERED BOY defeats the expectations. The weaknesses of “Tragic Encounters” can’t be ignored in the overall analysis but when these two men are getting it right, they are really making magic here. Even their more average tunes stand up to scrutiny.

This critic will admit to a bit of eye-rolling when the pre-listen research revealed the genres and subgenres involved. It’s very easy to screw this stuff up, to go in with all the passion in the world and wind up with garbage. But that hasn’t happened to SEVERED BOY. They’ve made twenty minutes of mostly fantastic Death/Doom, which is twenty minutes more than some bands with full discographies. If this is what “Tragic Encounters” could do as an EP, one can only shutter at what power might be yielded on the full-length debut.

Musicianship: 9
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Tragic Encounters
2. Pooling
3. Agony And Despair
4. Sparse Forest Of Memories
5. Mindless Future Breaker
Lineup:
Reid Calkin - drums
Nicholas Wolf - guitars, vocals
Record Label: Caligari Records
     


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Edited 16 September 2021
 

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