Author: Bloodshot Grub
Album: The Tomb of All Things
Label: Black Bow Records
I’m glad that funeral doom hasn’t yet reached the same level of prolificity as, say, atmospheric black metal. Even more so than 2015’s most abundant genre, funeral doom requires the right moods, the right atmosphere, and plenty of time to listen to the lengthy songs and absorb the weight and despair. The year now gone has given us some enjoyable funeral doom releases: Bell Witch, Ahab (though they’re a little less purely funereal anymore), Shape of Despair, Tyranny. Plenty to enjoy, but there’s still room in the 2015 roster for more.
Excepting drone, which rarely has any tempo at all, funeral doom is the slowest of metal genres, and this debut from Seattle’s Un pushes that as far as it can go. “Forgotten Path” lands at about 23 beats per minute, and before the ride cymbal comes into start marking the subdivisions, it’s about as slow as you can get before any sense of pulse dissolves entirely. Clayton Wolff, Andrew Jamieson, Monte Mccleery, and David Wright drag the music behind them like a boulder being pulled with chains through the mud. It’s a slow and mighty trudge, but there’s a determination to it as well.
Vocals and guitars are provided by Monte Mccleery of Samothrace, another band with a love of slow riffs and deep melancholy, but Un is a very different beast. It’s more bare, less melodic, and closer to death doom played at half tempo. Samothrace embraces sadness and finds beauty within its ugliness; Un seems given entirely to despair, but the occasional melodies contrast this with a sense of… not hope, but perhaps a strength found in great adversity.
The content is very good throughout, but I find the production somewhat weakens the effect, preventing me from fully appreciating the despairing landscape that Un has created. It’s a very dynamic album and all the instruments are clear and well-separated, but everything is very clean where a thick murkiness would better serve. The vocals sound good and the performance is effective, but not especially characteristic.
This is a different direction for the band than their demos would indicate. Their two 2013 releases are considerably faster (though still very slow), sludgier, angrier, and (being demos) more raw. I find them a little more enjoyable than The Tomb of All Things, but whereas the demos are fairly rote, there’s a sense of maturation and progression to their full length album that indicates to me that Un will bring us an album to be feared when they come around again. For the time being, The Tomb of All Things is an effective and emotional demonstration and a welcome addition to the 2015 funeral doom lineup.
- Bloodshot Grub
Check ’em out here: https://unvibes.bandcamp.com/