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The Drowning - The Radiant Dark

The Drowning
The Radiant Dark
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 18 September 2019, 11:31 AM

THE DROWNING formed in the UK in 2003. A Death/Doom Metal act, they released their first full-length in 2006, titled “When the Light was Taken from us,” and they have fairly steady release dates after that. Jump to 2019, and they present their fifth full-length, titled “The Radiant Dark,” which contains eight new tracks.

“Alpha Orionis” is a short instrumental opener. Elegant piano notes and a building atmosphere of melancholic bliss resound, segueing into “The Triumph of the Wolf in Death,” which opens with low vocal utterances and a slow, lumbering cadence. The vocals rage while the riff carries the song forward. The riff picks up in pace towards the end. “Prometheus Blinded” is much shorter in length. It features a bit of a faster pace, but the vocals are still enraged. The riff changes a bit towards the end of the song, but so far this has not impressed me much. “In Cold Earth” has a more majestic sound coming from the main riff. This time the band has found the mark. The subtle atmosphere in the background is key to the sound here, along with the clean guitar interlude at around the half way mark.

“All that we need of Hell” opens with a melancholic tone and a slow, grinding pace. This song breathes a bit more and even features some soft melodies to temper the incensed vocals. The sound changes at around the half way mark, with an almost “rappy” cadence of vocals. “Harrowed Path” is a faster and shorter track, again with the main focus being on that Doomy riff. After the half way mark, the riff shifts and gets your head nodding, followed by a glittering guitar solo that spares no notes. “I Carve the Heart from the Universe” is the longest song on the album at over ten minutes in length. A dominating and punishing riff opens the song. But the vocals take over the song here…hateful and deadly. That moody clean guitar interlude provides some temperance against the main body of the sound.

“Blood Marks my Grave” closes the album, opening with clean and doleful sounding guitars, like watching the sun set on the last day on Earth. Slowly it tears you apart; piece by piece. This song hits the mark…sounding beautifully depressing, as the vocals suck out your soul. Overall, this was a polarizing album for me. I loved some of the songs, but felt others were too run-of-the-mill. At this point in the band’s career, they have established their sound. So, what you hear is probably what you are going to hear on future releases as well. It had moments of brilliance, with moments of mediocrity for me. Still, overall, a pretty solid release with some real potential. If they could tap some more of those interludes and clean guitar passages into the music, they would really be on to something, because the lengthy Doomy sound can get to be too much after a while.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Alpha Orionis
2. The Triumph of the Wolf in Death
3. Prometheus Blinded
4. In Cold Earth
5. All that we need of Hell
6. Harrowed Path
7. I Carve the Heart from the Universe
8. Blood Marks my Grave
Mike Hitchen – Guitar
Jason Hodges – Guitar
Steve Hart – Drums
Richard Moore – Bass
Matt Small – Vocals
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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