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Πέμπτη, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

DOOMOCRACY - The End Is Written (Steel Gallery Records)

"The End is Written" is the title of the debut album by DOOMOCRACY from Heraklion city (island of Crete, Greece). The band delivers Doom Metal in the veins of bands like Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, Memento Mori and Veni Domine. Ok it sounds like an easy task to give a sort description for the musical genre that the band follows in the process of a review - writing. But this is actually a hell of a mission impossible to sit down, focus and transform into written words all those feelings that are exploiting inside me while hearing this album. I will try.

First of all let me directly point that I consider this debut as an absolute masterpiece. I would put it on a high slot next to classics that have shaped the musical culture of Epic Doom Metal. So on a personal list with the most inspired and important Epic Doom Metal albums I would put this debut next to releases by bands like Solitude Aeturnus, Sorcerer and Candlemass. It is not only my personal opinion and the fact that the album fits 110% into my personal musical criteria. There are some real facts in here that can not be ignored by anyone who would listen to this release. Read bellow and you will understand.

Songwriting: I will place it as much simple as it gets. Songwriting is the most important part for every band or artist in music, no matter the musical genre. Doomocracy have written some of the most amazing Epic Doom Metal compositions that I have heard the past ten years. Everything else that you would read on this review could be an interesting and positive point about this album, but if the songs were not on that high level of inspiration that actually characterizes them, nothing else of those features described bellow would be THAT much important.

Musically the band is standing on an Epic Doom Metal basis which is the main canvas on which their music is built upon. However on their Epic Doom Metal they combine lots of Power Metal features which are fitting smoothly on every song's structure, a structure that is shaped on an almost Prog way. What I basically mean is that each and every song of the album manages to keep the listener's interest into high level from start to finish. Lots of different riffs, lots of different melodies, very wise selection of specific musical parts placed on current time points on each song. So yes this is not your typical everyday boring Doom Metal structure with songs based on one riff. Doomocracy represent their music on an adventurous way.

The voice of Michael Stavrakakis is brilliant. Its color brings into my mind the young Robert Lowe of the first two Solitude Aeturnus albums mixed with a a little John Calvin. Stavrakakis finds a way to express each and every lyric on an emphatic way (another John Calvin credit? Probably). On the higher notes his voice carries the color, the power and the passion of Tom Mallicoat. Hey do not get me wrong: Michael is not trying to copy anyone of those singers who are used as references, representing my personal opinion. Speaking honestly I think that real lethal weapon in the case of Stavrakakis voice is the vocal melodies he composes. Those melodies are actually transforming the Doomocracy songs into real hymns.

It was actually one of those very times that I really enjoyed guitar work on a Doom Metal album. While everyone is focusing on the heaviness of main riffs only, Doomocracy would deliver some of the most magnificent lead guitar parts and solos you can imagine. They are adding lots of extra guitar melodies to many parts of their songs. Angelos Tzanis and Harry Dokos did a great guitar job on the album. Who said riffs are enough? They are not. We need more melody. 

Rhythm section plays a very important role in here. After all we are talking about Doom Metal, right? So take some extra time and listen CAREFULLY the bass lines of  Manolis Schizakis. Thanks to the production there is justice been done to the bass which can be heard loud and clear. So we can enjoy the magnificent bass melodies included in here. Of course the puzzle is getting completed with the hammering of Minas Vasilakis. Ok he does it the right way and with a Prog, emphatic attitude.

It is really difficult for me to select a specific song of the album as favorite. There is NO boring song in here. There is NO song that can be "selected". Each and every tune in this record will drive the listener on an ecstatic journey. You do not believe me? Press the play button. Listen to "Sadness and Hesitation", its main vocal melody sounds like a siren song to me, you can focus on its majestic phrygian lead parts and its hammering chorus. Greatness. Ok go on and listen to "Faceless" a Doom Metal anthem, how can someone describe the agony which fills the air through a a vocal melody, a riff and those lyrics: "All The Cowards, Lets Step Up And Speak Our Minds, Will You Listen?". 

Check out "Doormacht (Der Apokalyptische Untergang)" and its main -ala Tad Morose- riff. Too heavy for you? Maybe. "The Celephais Curse" comes next. This main riff, those breakings... and this bridge before the chorus... You got to listen to understand and yes... when was the last time you heard a chorus like that? Lots of inspiration here, on a Power / Doom opus with Prog touches. 

"The End Is Written" comes next. Listen to this main vocal melody on the song's first -and main- part. I know, it is difficult to find words to describe it. "Emissary Of Vengeance" re presents all those features that I have described above. The Powerful rifing, the magnificent lead parts -perhaps this songs includes my favorite lead guitar part of all the album, but I am still thinking about that- and the vocals of Stavrakakis that will take you to hell and back. Yes a hammering anthem full of vengeance glory... I worship this tune. "Hanging Puppet" represents another great riff, some great vocal melodies and some killer lead parts. It carries a special Memento Mori touch being the most "Prog / Doom" song of the whole album.

I have left the last song of the album to be the last one on my little song by song reference. "Sins": I like the whole song but I think that its acoustic guitar interlude will haunt me forever. It is mainly the vocals. It is the way that this interlude is sung in EACH and EVERY word. This is music for the soul.

The sound of the album is great. The band entered "Mad Hat Music" studio in Heraklion Greece to record the album. Nikos Vogiatzakis was the sound engineer. The album is produced in Sweden by Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Evergrey) and mastered by Peter In De Betou (Morgana Lefay, Memento Mori, Entombed). 

The cover and artwork are done by Piotr Szafraniec. Can you recognize the mascot on the cover?

I simply have nothing more to write. This is an excellent album for everyone who searches some good Metal music. To me this record is like a treasure. With the hope to find such treasures we spend the biggest part of our life in music... and time goes by until the end, which is written...

Chris Papadakis

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