Full-length number two from Finland’s Fall of the Idols’, The Seance, finds the band treading a surprisingly darker path compared to what was delivered with 2006’s excellent Womb of the Earth. To the un-doomed ear the difference is perhaps negligible, but those who’ve spent a fair share of time with this style, particularly of the Finnish variety, will quickly notice the instant the funereal cloak of “Nosophoros” settles upon their world.
Dismal things seem to have happened to these guys since ’06, and that anguished misery is seeping through every pore of this record in the form of toiling tunes largely woven from a more “funeral doom” sort of loom. “Nosophoros” (8:47), “My Home the Gallows” (11:25), “Cathedral of Doom” (6:59) and “An Age Comes to Its End” (10:59) all slog slower than anything the band has done to date.
The afflicted riffing at the heart of the opening cut is every bit as fitting of a funeral march as anything heard from the Equilibrium days of Cathedral, and the grim knell of bells melding with the heavy-hearted start of “The Conqueror Worm” is eclipsed only by the way the tune eventually CRUSHES the listener beneath the grievous wave that is its tragic end. In short, The Seance is a mother-fucking bummer of a record. The kind of bummer that would charm most any metal fan who holds slow-crawling doomy-gloom close to their heart.
Production wise, The Seance sounds as if it’s being delivered from the halls of an ancient castle, which suits the misery perfectly. All the instruments are mixed pretty equally, but because Fall of the Idols boasts three guitarists, the RIFF has a tendency to obscure the bass and vocals at times. But that same guitar-centric ambition also throws an appropriate spotlight on the superb lead guitar work, which definitely stands as one of strongest selling points of this fine album.
Props to one of doom’s more promising young acts for once again delivering the bereavement goods with The Seance. This record is an ideal companion for those who bask in misery, or vent their sorrow by channeling music stacked with gloom. Chalk up another win for Fall of the Idols.