Surtr - Pulvis Et Umbra
15 March 2013

01. Rise Again
02. Three Winters Of War
03. Sonic Doom
04. The Call
05. Rebellion
06. I Am The Cross
07. Fred Karno's Army

I will admit that when I first received this album, I was fully convinced that its title was Pelvis Et Umbra and not Pulvis Et Umbra. Immediately I thought "whoa this has to be one of the coolest titles around, hehehe, is it supposed to mean 'shadow of the penis' or something"? Unfortunately, the title in fact translates into "Dust and Shadow", which is a far more cliche title for a doom metal album and even more unfortunately, as it turns out, having the word "pelvis" in the title would have been pretty much the only notable thing going for Surtr on this boring, derivative album.

Surtr is a French band that specializes in pretty straight forward traditional doom metal of the monotonous, vintage Saint Vitus variety, with occasional epic tendencies and more 'modern' death-doom parts appearing in some songs. All jokes aside, there is evidence of some talent here, with some of the riffs being appropriately catchy in that morose, moping way that doom metal fans have come to love. Unfortunately, all it takes is the first few seconds of the opener "Rise Again" to notice that something is very, very wrong here. First of all, the vocals are a very weak point of this album due to the singer's tuneless delivery and bad French accent. While a band such as Warning is able to turn a tuneless delivery into art, Surtr's vocalist just sounds like a karaoke performer with bronchitis and listening to a song like "Sonic Doom" is a cringe-inducing experience, even though the track actually features pleasantly grinding guitars in the verses and a well-developed death-doom breakdown.

Secondly, the promo I received features rather poor sound quality, with the kick drums and lower bass being noticeably distorted on every headphone and speaker system that I've listened to this album with. I even downloaded a pirated copy of this album just to make sure that the final release isn't mixed better and lo and behold, welcome to lo-fi country. No doubt, this is caused by an over-zealous, yet inexperienced mastering engineer trying very hard to make Surtr's music sound more imposing than it actually does. Either way, the production is definitely a huge fail and takes away from the enjoyment of this album in a big way, as the overdone kick drums pummel away at you, masking the riffs and vocals alike (although the latter is not such a bad thing).

All in all, Surtr's Pulvis Et Umbra is not really an album I'd feel comfortable recommending to anyone. Certainly, some of the less picky doom metal fans out there will find some things to like about this album; however, even they will be distracted by its aforementioned flaws. Indeed, what I have primarily learned from listening to this album is that everything is better with a dick joke thrown in, even doom metal.

Band profile: Surtr
Album: Pulvis Et Umbra


Written on 17.04.2013 by
With Metal Storm since 2002, jupitreas has been subjecting the masses to his reviews for quite a while now. He lives in Warsaw, Poland, where he does his best to avoid prosecution for being so cool.
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Arcesse Eum - 17.04.2013 at 18:12  
Shadow of the Penis = Umbra Peni
Pelvis et Umbra = Shallow bowl and Shadow
jupitreas - 17.04.2013 at 19:18  
Written by Arcesse Eum on 17.04.2013 at 18:12

Shadow of the Penis = Umbra Peni
Pelvis et Umbra = Shallow bowl and Shadow

Yes, but that is not as funny
Jaeryd - 18.04.2013 at 22:06  
Written by jupitreas on 17.04.2013 at 19:18

Yes, but that is not as funny

Yes, but where do you get "penis" from "pelvis"? I understand that they're within close proximity to one another, but you do know what a pelvis is, yes?

Pictured here:

Not a penis

jupitreas - 19.04.2013 at 02:41  
Hey, what can I tell you, to me the first thing that comes to mind when mentioning the pelvis is that it is in close proximity to the penis. Its the same principle as when someone tells you to "hey, look at her chest" and you immediately stare at the breasts I do believe it is fairly clear in the review that it was simply my first thought so it is strange to me that you guys are obsessing over it so much.
Susan - 19.04.2013 at 03:46  
Written by jupitreas on 19.04.2013 at 02:41

Its the same principle as when someone tells you to "hey, look at her chest" and you immediately stare at the breasts

True! If this has been the case then I doubt anyone would have posted pics of the ribcage or the breast bone
R'Vannith - 19.04.2013 at 06:04  
Anatomy 101 right here.
Arcesse Eum - 19.04.2013 at 21:02  
If I were this band reading these discussion posts about all their hard work, I'd be pretty disappointed.
Daggon - 17.06.2013 at 05:19  
I tried to give them a chance, and, as you said, musically, there are some really cool riffs here and there, but the vocals are terrible, like someone who does not know what to do with his voice. Seems like they have a chance to get better in the future, but now, it's just another average doom metal album.

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