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Soothsayer – Echoes Of The Earth Award winner

Echoes Of The Earth
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 15 February 2021, 6:53 AM

SOOTHSAYER is an atmospheric doom/sludge band from Ireland, who formed in 2013. Over the years they have released two EPs, a split album and even a live release. Fast forward to 2021 and the band graces the underground with its incredible full length debut called "Echoes of the Earth." With six tracks and a run time of 51 minutes, SOOTHSAYER has stuffed this album full of everything that makes both atmospheric music and death/doom/sludge a force to reckoned with.

Most think of doom as a depressive and down trodden genre that is full of sadness . While that isn't really wrong, it also can't be applied to every doom or sludge band. "Echoes of the Earth," isn't so much melancholic as it is angry and vengeful. This album focuses on how the Earth is fighting against the destruction we humans have causes upon it for years.  Regardless on how you feel about such issues, the band certainly has convictions they absolutely believe. As rage filled as this album is, there is a method to the madness and a reason their emotions burst forth. As such, the raw emotions aren’t pointless at all but rather focused to a fine point.

What I appreciated the most about this album is that the music isn't always slow and glacial.  There is a common misconception that doom always has to be lumbering and snail like. That isnt true and SOOTHSAYER show a similar belief here. The songs are often mid paced, or faster with even some blast beats. That isn't to say there isn't plenty of doom/sludge to be found here. On the contrary, the riffs are thick and dig deep, scraping and crawling their way out of a gravel filled void. The guitars are just MASSIVE but then again so is everything  else. It certainly helps this album to have the high production values that it does–it is just immense and one of the better sounding albums I've heard in recent times but it never takes away from their sound.

The opening track is the intro but it is also nearly six minutes long. That is one hell of a length for an album's introduction but it sets the mood of the album perfectly and the build up makes the next track all the more better for it. Ambient noises and spoken word voices start the track, which has a tribal style feel to it. There is light usage of actual music notes and it gives the song a mysterious and foreboding skeletal frame.

It leads seamlessly into the next track, "Outer Fringe." Speaking of being on the outside….SOOTHSAYER have definitely supplied an album that doesn't sound like anything else out there. Along with OMINATION's "NGR" (which I also reviewed a couple weeks ago), I feel this album is really helping to steer extreme doom into the right places. Clean notes open up this song with dark, deep dark bass tones providing the perfect backdrop. When the distortion kicks in, the music nearly floors the body with uncompromising sonic tons. The vocals make it well with a furious performance–Liam is a monstrous vocalist.

The song somehow gets even further into its own sound and heavy factor when the riffs just hit hard like a hammer and set there for a few seconds. The next track, "War of the Doves," has another tension building intro but opens wide with sick bass grooves and guitar that is one mean sludge machine. The vocals are insane, barking over the musical chaos. Who knew doom could be just as good insane as it is lethargic? Around the 5:50 mark, the guitars take center stage and hammer out brutal riffs that rival the sonic density of anything else I've heard this year, doom or otherwise.

"Cities of Smoke" throws a curve ball into the mix, being a shorter and more melodic track. But it doesn't sound out of place—all the albums hallmarks are included. The bass is the king of the song, melodic yet holding the song up on a strong foundation. The drums are atmospheric, a feeling that is hard for such an instrument to achieve. The lead guitar and those drums play off each other well. The final two trucks are the highlights of the album and if I had the time, I could write another review on just these songs. I feel these songs really go well together, both displaying in equal terms the finality of all.

The first couple minutes of "Six of Nothing" is just vicious—-certainly worthy of extreme doom no doubt. The guitars bass and drums are all Rise in this song—-just when you think the climax has hit again, a new wave of energy rips through the song. The last four minutes of the song are a hellish miasma of atmospheric pressure is the epicenter of the aftermath of a volcanic explosion. The riffs are lava.

Then comes "True North," the albums longest song and possibly the best. The opening riff is just sinister and dirty—an evil and grim thing. The spoken word vocals are equally potent and menacing.  When the death growls hit, the song settles into this mountainous bulldozer that just…I mean, it's all gone. Dead. Humans wiped out. The drumming is especially impressive, a song within a song featuring explosive bursts of powerful notes. I love the little melodic part that starts close to the five minute mark. That, in turn, gives the perfect opening for galloping and broken up riffs to present themselves for total rhythmic fury.

SOOTHSAYER’s "Echoes of the Earth," is one hell of ride and has placed itself as one of the doom albums this year that all future releases will be judged against. Obviously it is way too early to make any call on "best of" albums but this one is going to have some staying power and wont be going down without one hell of a fight—much like nature itself.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Fringe
2. Outer Fringe
3. War of the Doves
4. Cities of Smoke
5. Six of Nothing
6. True North
Líam Hughes – Voices, Soundscapes
Con Doyle – Guitars, Voices
Marc O'Grady – Guitars
Pavol Rosa – Bass
Sean Breen – Drums
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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Edited 05 March 2021

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