Release DetailsLABEL Svart Records
RELEASED ON 5/8/2015
Oh, it's weird alright. However, it feels unearned...
Domovoydposted on 7/2015 By:
Domovoyd is weird now. It's not a good weird. No, it's a trying-too-hard weird. It's a self-aware, winking weird. It's an unsolicited mixtape mashing up third-rate Zappas and dusty kitsch weird. It's a van bedecked in blacklight wizard posters parked at a tech start up weird. It's someone screening Holy Mountain on a first date weird. It's the kind of weird when someone tells you they're weird, hoping the mere mention grants their wish.
Doomvoyage, the talented Finnish quartet's second full-length, is weirdly tedious, if anything. It feels longer than it is, which is never a good look for a psychedelic stoner doom record. It's 60 minutes of the boring bits drugs tend to snip away from memory in the same way an editor shapes an action movie. On paper, Domovoyage looks promising: avant-classical tone clusters and well-steeped Gong WTFs, along with a spirit more adventurous than a drunk Casper starring in a Warren Miller movie. But you don't listen to paper.
To get to the heart of it, Domovoyage is discouragingly calculated. Contrived, even. "Ambrosian Perfume" attempts post-punk vocals amid a Sleep-y atmosphere lit by Hawkwind's shine. Singer Oskar Tunderberg was probably gunning for Ian Curtis, but hit Fred Schneider instead. Oh, it's weird, all right. However, it feels unearned, as if the catalyst for this and other album decisions was someone saying, "Hey, you know what would be weird..." right before hitting record.
Compare this with Domovoyd's first album, Oh Sensibility. That ingratiatingly loose, swinging record sounded so effortless, offering a flash of hope in a stoner doom genre that's mostly ash. Two years on, it remains a high water mark. Domovoyage is spilled bong water, the kind of faux pas you regret as soon as THC dissipates and hindsight regains focus. It's not awful -- there are still impressive sections only this band can execute -- but it's not worth the effort. You could make this work, but it would require work.
Similarly, taking a dump on a band so promising doesn't make for a joyous occasion. After all, Domovoyd's heart is in the right place. If the choice in 2015 is to make this or a retro-occult snoozer, the correct choice is this, one thousand times over. But you wish Domovoyage had a different thesis. Domovoyd is weird now -- which might be enough if this is your first foray into other realms; you don't choose your pioneers, they find you -- though they're not weird. Not really. Something truly weird is exciting because it's unpredictable. Domovoyage? You know it's going to be weird in a highly specific, '70s prog way. Pastiche isn't progression, and in this case, it's not pleasing, either.