Album Review: Resilience & Despair – Qaalm

Spring is in the air, and in my neck of the woods that is very welcoming news. Ohio has some crazy weather, no doubt. I’d say it was for the birds, but the birds all fuck off to Florida before Halloween. We’re lucky to hear chirps by Easter, and they’re cutting it close this year. The warmer days and nights tend to add a little fire to my listening habits, even if only slightly. 

Doom is always on the menu, but as the sun spends more of its day with us, the icy loneliness of Funeral Doom typically gives way to a swampier variety. Something with a bit more humidity, if you will, like Neurosis or Electric Wizard. Well, on one particularly foggy evening I was overwhelmed by a sense of… Qaalm.

Yes, a mighty tidal wave of weighty emotion called Resilience & Despair breezed in from the west, clearing a path for the cold to melt away.

Coming out of a particularly long winter, as I continue to examine the many pieces of my life that have been floating around me in violent puddles, the music on this album was able to significantly calm the waters of a depressive tsunami that I’ve spent far too much time with. Each of the four tracks on the record could be talked about at length and listened to repeatedly. Monstrously epic, celestially atmospheric Doom.

“Existence Asunder” is my favorite of the four, though that opinion may fluctuate with time. As evidenced by the above video, the opening riff is absolutely barbaric. Pray at the altar of Doom! And when that vocal comes in, backed by another destructive riff, there is an explosion of slow-motion energy with a determination that’s impossible to ignore. Easily followed in and out of near-ambient valleys, reinforced by the guitar work of Henry Bonner and Brock Elmore, the listener coaxed into relaxation — seconds later Pete Major’s voice comes raging back! Absolute madness! But what really takes the cake on this tune is the last five minutes, which possess a quality eerily similar to “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” 

Resiliance & Despair absolutely warrants a track-by-track analysis, as there isn’t a dull moment on the thing, which becomes more evident the more often you spin the record. It is a well-paced, brilliantly laid-out album, with atmospheric soundscapes from other earth-like dimensions. Reminiscent of the recent work done by Derrick Vella in Dream Unending, mixed with that of the great Gregor Mackintosh of Paradise Lost

I cannot recommend this enough for fans of Doom, but also to anyone who appreciates the art of subtlety in both production and song structure. Resistance & Despair is Qaalm’s debut full-length, released on April 15 by Hypaethral Records. [edit] and Trepanation Recordings.

Rating: 4.5/5



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