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Soothsayer - Live In Malta MMXIX Award winner

Live In Malta MMXIX
by Allan Clarke at 21 June 2021, 11:06 PM

Hailing from Cork in the south of Ireland, Atmospheric Doom/Sludge outfit SOOTHSAYER present a live album recorded at The Garage in Malta during 2019. Released via Cursed Monk Records on 14/05/2021. The fact that a record label like Vendetta Records has taken this up for a vinyl release speaks of its quality. Opening the performance with the immortal words of Doors legend Jim Morrison, "Is everybody in, everybody in, the ceremony is about to begin". The mood is eerie as the slow atmospheric ambient, brooding ghostly chants and dissonant guitar tone takes us into the opening number "Outer Fringe", from the new album "Echoes of The Earth". Harrowing, painful, harsh vocals erupt on the crowd after the intro, blending with the clean chants taking us on a journey of frustrated pain and anguish about ancient world wisdom now lost to us. Hatred and rage pour through the monster vocals of lead singer Liam Hughes. Bleak and harrowing howls of frustration emits the anguish and sense of loss, building the chugging juggernaut up to a boiling point before receding like a gargantuan wave back out to the unknown depths.

"Unveil Them", is next up. The first of two tracks from their 2015 "The Soothsayer" EP. We are straight into a sludge groove here, with crushing in-your-face vocals. This a slow pounding Doom fan's headbanging delight here. The slow unwinding riffing here is mesmerizing and adds an eerie and satisfying flow to the bass and drum combo of Pavol Rosa and Sean Breen as they drive this track onwards. The powerful vocal performance leaves you emotionally drained; yet yearning for more as the song comes to a close.
"True North" starts off somewhat subdued in comparison, showing a rare vulnerability in contrast to their usual visceral wall of sound. This is short lived however, before transcending into the next invasion of ferocity on your senses. The build up here, as they all but leave behind the doom element and descend into chaotic riffs and frantic drumming, again shows their nous in jumping in and out of different tempos. Just as quickly as it begins it stops again, coming back out for some exquisite clean guitar, a hollow yet beautifully coloured tone. The song ends short, leaving out the 4-minute outro of the studio album closer, to jump straight into the 4th and final track of the set.

"Lunar Correspondence" is a lumbering, heavy, epic slow doom march, pummeling along ominously towards the finish line, they blend in somber vocal harmonies here which complement the ever-resounding anger in Liam's vocal cords. This is the slowest and heaviest of the 4 songs on offer here, almost drowning in its own weight, but kept afloat by the repetitive guitar riff that adds just enough colour to its dark and unrelenting mass. It is hard to imagine not coming away from this listening experience any less than emotionally battered and bruised yet strangely elated.
In conclusion: SOOTHSAYER have treated us to a powerful live show of multi-layered Atmospheric Doom/Sludge, seamlessly blending genres to capture a performance of considerable quality.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Outer Fringe
2. Unveil Them
3. True North
4. Lunar Correspondence
Liam Hughes - Vocals
Marc O'Grady - Guitar
Con Doyle - Guitar
Pavol Rosa – Bass
Sean Breen – Drums
Record Label: Cursed Monk Records


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Edited 01 December 2022

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