So here’s the thing. The Great Mackintosh is a sucker for Paradise Lost, always has been, always will be, heck, even his name is a play on their guitarist’s name, that being Gregor Mackintosh, a man of such talent and tone that it every time I hear it I near get goosebumps. No one sounds like them, well, some try, some get close, but it’s not exactly the sound I want them to replicate, it’s the feeling. The goosebumps when a certain chord progression rings true to your heart, a lyric makes you look inward, that kind of thing, and boy oh boy does this band have that in spades. Here’s why.
The beginning, where all good things usually start, piqued my interest, “Wolves and the Hideous White”, being the title track, has such a richness to it, that you cannot but pause and wonder where this gift has come from. Again I mention tone, because the whole thing just reeks of excellence. Mid paced Death/Doom if you will, hardly surprising and yet of such quality that you are captivated. What more is to come if they have started off so well? Reminiscent of many a band gone by, and yet truly spectacular in their own right.
Number two “Still No Sun” continues this theme. A tolling bell welcoming you into a world of grief and suffering. Rolling drums and riffs as hard as steel mixed with the almost hateful and yet hurt sound of vocalist Andy Clarke reminding you of the time when you where happy, your life was full, and then it was all taken away in the blink of an eye. Every outstanding musical moment another pile of concrete on your soon to be grave.
Hateful and hurt is something that needs to be repeated. Track three “Drowned In Shallow Water” is a masterclass in misery. Every word, every chord strikes deep into the soul, surely this man carries much weight around his heart, this is Doom, and Doom done to exception. Yes Death is there as well, and he is standing next to you listening with a glint in his eye and on his scythe. Fellow misery hounds Stuart Rainey on bass and backing vocals, and Gary Beattie on the drums tick along like the beat of your heart. Even and measured, rising in tempo at times as the sorrow washes over you in waves, but always there, a constant reminder of both the frailty of the human condition, and the excellence of two well practiced musicians.
I’m not going to continue to go through each song, for the fear that I will run out of things to say that cannot do this album enough justice, so I will share with you the most powerful moment for me, and that came with these words. ‘Gather sympathy like flowers, they’re on display for all to see, you must tend to them every day, or they will wither as did you and me’. Holy fucking shitballs. Straight to the sternum, no holding back, raw as an open wound, These guys don’t only have exceptionally heavy music, they have words that make it SO much heavier. Yes, there is more, but you need to listen to it yourself and decide what level it hits you on.
Every other track is sheer bliss for the Death/Doom fan, but the ones mentioned stand out like a broken heart, a bleeding mind, a gutted soul. You need this, if you weren’t aware until now just like me. I had never heard of this band before, and now I will be digging deep to find the rest of their stuff. Exceptional is an understatement. I have no more words, for they are nothing compared to such fucking brilliance. I may have stated that I love Paradise Lost, and yes at first that’s who these guy’s reminded me of, but then they took things to a whole new level.
Rating – 5/5