Rating:
8.5
Towards Darkness - Barren
2 April 2012


01. The Arrival
02. Avenues Of Manipulation
03. Holy...Dying...Lifting
04. Awakening


Canada isn't exactly renowned for its doom scene. Sure, we have great beer and bacon and maple syrup, but doom? Longing For Dawn seem to be the only ones interested in that kind of music. Or at least Simon Carignan seems to be the only one interested...

After the release of Towards Darkness as The Mass, the band members decided to change their style, opting for a much slower pace. Solemn was quite a statement for Canadian doom, and it's been followed up perfectly with the release of Barren. While we aren't necessarily talking Mournful Congregation or Colosseum, this is definitely a quality release worth checking out.

Typically funeral doom releases are driven by the emotions of extreme negativity. The atmospheres are often burdensome with lyrics dealing in loss, grief, death, suicide, and other miserable topics. And the music itself is often crushing and even a little soul-shattering. These descriptors are all relevant when discussing Towards Darkness, but they do something differently in order to maintain relevance in a scene that still hasn't shown any real signs of having potential.

As the album art and title suggest, the theme here is obviously emptiness. Solitude, nothingness, loneliness, silence... the apocalypse.

Each track spends a great deal of time building up to what needs to be said (kind of like this review), venturing through epic film score-esque soundscapes with monumental and painfully slow keyboard riffs. The acoustic interludes work in much the same way, taking their time and repeating themselves before finally leading up to the climactic crushing electric guitar melodies. Simplistic and repetitive in their own right, they only add to a haunting atmosphere that lends a few memories to Prince's "1999" or The Terminator franchise. This is world-ending stuff about the world ending. Go figure.

While this album may not necessarily trigger a massive influx of Canadian doom projects, it at least adds to the funeral doom genre's list of excellent releases and does a decent job of standing out on its own given its sci-fi-styled keyboard effects and post-apocalyptic atmosphere. If you like your music oppressive and claustrophobic, this is definitely an extreme piece of hopelessness your masochistic sense of being will certainly appreciate.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 7
Production: 10


 



Written on 31.05.2012 by
Troy Killjoy
Just another opinionated guy telling you what to listen to.
More reviews by Troy Killjoy ››



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Merchant of Doom - 01.06.2012 at 11:25  
Mmmm... not strictly funeral doom, IMHO... it's a mix... FD/sludge/post-metal/ambient... great album.
BoxCar Willy - 01.06.2012 at 14:27  
"If you like your music oppressive and claustrophobic"

Why yes, yes I do.
strade - 01.06.2012 at 16:42  
Is Troy getting slightly more positive in his young age?
Troy Killjoy - 01.06.2012 at 20:41  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 01.06.2012 at 11:25
Mmmm... not strictly funeral doom, IMHO... it's a mix... FD/sludge/post-metal/ambient... great album.

You must not have read that paragraph where I delve into why this isn't strictly funeral doom.

...epic film score-esque soundscapes
...acoustic interludes
...Prince's "1999" or The Terminator franchise (re: atmosphere)

I disagree with the sludge tag though. At no point in time does this album ever speed up enough to warrant being labeled as sludge.
Troy Killjoy - 01.06.2012 at 20:48  
Written by strade on 01.06.2012 at 16:42
Is Troy getting slightly more positive in his young age?

Having a girlfriend apparently makes me less bitter.
IronAngel - 02.06.2012 at 02:06  
The sludge/post-metal thing probably comes from the vocals. Which doesn't say much. That's the only thing I could hear when I went back and listened to this again after the comment.

But yeah, I like this record a lot. There's a lot going on, pretty accessible as far as the musical equivalent of a jumbo jet landing on you can be accessible.
Pazdzioch - 04.06.2012 at 03:35  
Sounds interesting.
Merchant of Doom - 04.06.2012 at 23:58  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 01.06.2012 at 20:41

Written by Merchant of Doom on 01.06.2012 at 11:25
Mmmm... not strictly funeral doom, IMHO... it's a mix... FD/sludge/post-metal/ambient... great album.

You must not have read that paragraph where I delve into why this isn't strictly funeral doom.

...epic film score-esque soundscapes
...acoustic interludes
...Prince's "1999" or The Terminator franchise (re: atmosphere)

I disagree with the sludge tag though. At no point in time does this album ever speed up enough to warrant being labeled as sludge.



erm, no, but I did read it... I must have forgotten about that bit... not on purpose! Agree with the sludge tag... although it's borderline, IMHO... never heard "slow sludge"?
zion - 11.06.2012 at 21:18  
Nice review for nice album! all matter in syrup btw, happy birthday, Troy!
BitterCOld - 21.12.2012 at 07:26  
Late find for me, really enjoying it. nice work.

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