Originally written by Drew Ailes
Fucking doom. I hate doom. At least, I think I hate doom. I’m not sure, I might really like doom. I can’t tell. Doom is a genre that encompasses too much. From Cathedral, to Anathema, to Khanate – it’s all doom. I used to completely stay away from all doom because I thought it was only for people who wore frilly black clothing. Luckily, those days have passed, as otherwise I would’ve never been able to give this album a chance.
Lamented Souls, as you could probably predict from the previous passage, play doom. The same type of doom as Saint Vitus – epic Black Sabbath-inspired doom. But this isn’t just any normal group of degenerates – this is actually a supergroup of sorts featuring members of Inferno, Beyond Dawn, Dimmu Borgir, and Cadaver. Naturally, your hopes are probably going to be set a little too high, but luckily enough, Lamented Souls don’t disappoint too much.
The Origins of Misery isn’t their first album technically. The members’ obligations in their other bands have prevented them from making steady progress, so to hold people over, they’ve released this album from 1997 and a few tracks from their 1995 demo. A few of the tracks actually repeat, only sounding slightly different, which really interrupts the general continuity. I wish they would’ve just released the album itself instead of tacking on the demo – although the last track, a well-arranged instrumental called “Soulstorm” has a really classic 70’s sound that fucking murders life.
Sounding similar to Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus, Simen Hestnaes (Arcturus, Borknagar, Dimmu Borgir) handles the vocal duties as over-dramatic and as awesome as possible. I’m sure that there’ll be plenty of people turned off by how he’s completely ridiculous he is in his delivery, but really, I can’t imagine anything more fitting. He’s certainly incorporated well into the music itself with a variety of vocal-effects that will unavoidably remind you of his work on La Masquerade Infernale. The Origins of Misery is a wet dream for those of you who’ve always felt his soaring, over-the-top, operatic style was the highlight of Borknagar and Arcturus. It really has to be heard to be believed, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
The rest of the music is straight-forward doom. No real twists or turns. Heavy mid-paced sluggish riffs, wailing melodic guitar solos with plenty of wah, the drums crashing in and out – everything’s done the right way. They’ve got a Black Sabbath delivery at times, with real thick bass grooves and bending riffs that Iommi could even get a bit envious of – but honestly, probably wouldn’t. The production provides a real bellowing sound which is absolutely essential to doom. My only complaint would be this obnoxious phasing noise they put at the beginning of “Traces of Doom”, which quickly dissipates once the vocals come in. The mood phases from almost-upbeat to downright depressing, like on the powerfully somber track “Var”.
I’m always disappointed by supergroups – it’s too easy to believe that taking a member from one amazing band and combining it with a member of another amazing band is a sure formula for success. Lamented Souls shouldn’t be thought of as a supergroup, but instead, should just be considered a group of guys who function effectively as a unit. Unfortunately enough, a few of the minor flaws of this album are obviously the result of the rushed feeling of some of the material and recording process. The Origins of Misery is unquestionably a good listen and if these guys find the time to record a proper album, they could potentially create a modern classic.