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Desolate Realm – Desolate Realm

Desolate Realm
Desolate Realm
by Mark Machlay at 01 June 2021, 2:45 AM

Finnish doom metal duo DESOLATE REALM have released their full-length self-titled debut in late April of this year. The group was formed in 2018 by Matias Nastolin holding down all guitar, bass and vocals duties with his cohort Olli Torronen on drums. The two met in the Finnish death metal act DECAYING when Torronen joined the band in 2017 and have remained close ever since.  While Nastolin now only sings for DECAYING after bassist Sebastian Bergman joined in 2012, he also provides bass and vocals for doom/death/stoner band ALTER OF BETELGEUZE – their most recent album “Among the Ruins” was released in 2017.  Pulling double duty himself, when he isn’t providing beats for DECAYING or DESOLATE REALM, Torronen has also played with melodic heavy metal act Chalice. They recorded and released their first EP “Unleash the Storm” in 2019 with Markus Heinone of Saarni Music and Lammaskallion Audio in Tuusula engineering the drums. All the other parts were recorded by Nastolin himself at Louhinta Studios in Helsinki.

After the warm reception of their debut EP, the band are continuing on with the same independent recording technique on their first full-length. Since doom metal and traditional heavy metal were created around the same time, the origin of each genre is a bit muddy to pinpoint. DESOLATE REALM seem to muddy that distinction further by combining the epic grandeur of doom metal acts such as CANDLEMASS and SOLITUDE AETURNUS with the classic sounding heavy metal of MOTORHEAD and SAVATAGE while still retaining the groove and general atmosphere that BLACK SABBATH exemplified. With eight tracks and over 45 minutes of music, it is filled with grandiose riffage, and even more gripping vocals with catchy sensibilities. Regarding the new album, the band writes, “We think it was a step in the right direction…We will be continuing on the path of heavy doom metal, for sure”.

The record was quite a surprise for sure as doom metal as a genre has exploded and splintered into many different sub categories that you can never be sure what you’re getting when a band is given that label. DESOLATE REALM fall squarely into the more epic doom metal category and rely much more on traditional “trve”metal riffs while still having the gloom and atmosphere of traditional doom metal as well. The album’s opener “Spire” could have easily been from an IRON MAIDEN album with its up-tempo delivery. But where it differs is in the high vocal flares normally employed by falsetto heavy KIND DIAMOND and it takes its time, sometimes halving the tempo to a dirge and marinating in the doomy atmosphere. It even has an appropriately dichotomous melodic and dissonant solo near the end. “Beneath the Surface” then takes a more sludgy slow turn but still has those melodic upturned riffs that add spice and intrigue. “The Circle” shows clear SABBATH influence in its main riff that twists into a knot and then hangs on the final precarious note before repeating again, a common trick IOMMI would employ in things like the ominous title track “Black Sabbath” with its lingering tri-tone, and “A National Acrobat” hanging on the second before going home. But their strengths shine even more on the proggier later tracks “Reckoning” and “Tormented Souls” blended into their already strong chuggy riffs and lamenting solos. Personally I wasn’t a fan of the more fuzzed out guitar tone, though and the riffs just didn’t feel as memorable as some other recent doom releases. I hope that with their next release, some hooks manage to stay with me a little better than these.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Spire
2. Beneath the Surface
3. The Circle
4. Crypt
5. Reckoning
6. The Chosen
7. A Tall Order
8. Tormented Souls
Lineup:
Olli Torronen – Drums
Matias Nastolin – Guitars, Bass & Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 16 June 2021
 

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