Rating:
9.8
Skepticism - Alloy
20 October 2008


01. The Arrival
02. March October
03. Antimony
04. The Curtain
05. Pendulum
06. Oars In The Dusk


I like my doom sound clear and well produced. In my opinion this kind of music demands clear production, because it's the best way to convey heaviness, deep guitar sound, spacey keyboards and low, guttural vocals (as well as clean ones). Sucky production that tries to rival Darkthrone's Transylvanian Hunger in terms of muffled fuzziness simply puts me off. I don't want to listen to music that is played to me through amps and speakers tucked in thick blankets, or comfortably placed on the bottom of a swimming pool somewhere in eastern Siberia. Bad production destroys the atmosphere that doom should create in the listener's mind. That's why I think that The Divinity of Oceans is a better Ahab album than Call of the Wretched Sea also because is sounds much better. I would like Wormphlegm much more if they didn't sound like shit... I do appreciate many badly-produced doom albums though, I just wish they sounded better...

Skepticism is no exception. As much as I like Stromcrowfleet and Lead and Aether, I think they'd be much better off if someone removed those thick blankets from the microphones used to record these albums. Admittedly, the blankets are much thinner on Lead and Aether, and they seem to have been almost completely removed on the band's next full-length release, Farmakon. Skepticism sounds better and better with every album, and the latest one shows that they've found their perfect sound at last.

Excellent production quality is the first thing that hits your eardrums when you put Alloy in your CD player. The first track on the album, "The Arrival", simply hammered me into my armchair with its incredible heaviness, accentuated by the trademark of Skepticism - those wonderfully horror-movie-like church organs (they will always remind me of Mercyful Fate's "The Oath" - one of the best song intros ever!). The guitars plod along at a snail's pace, the keyboards turn your room into a cathedral at midnight, the vocals spell utter decimation of your soul - that's Skepticism in a nutshell for you. I can't imagine a better opener to a doom album than "The Arrival".

And it only gets better. "March October" quickly claimed the throne as the best Skepticism song on my private list - and I thought that the brilliant untitled track from Farmakon would never be toppled. "Antimony" wins my affections thanks to the great use of keyboards, especially when all other instruments go quiet - check them 36 seconds into the song. The motive they play is simple, delicate, and yet it manages to be eerie and creepy at the same time. That ethereal motive reappears several times throughout the song, always standing in stark contrast with the wall of sound that comes before and after it. Just brilliant.

Alloy is full of such tasty details. The acoustic intro of "Pendulum", the guitar "solo" about 6 minutes into "March October", the powerful drums at the end of "Oars in the Dusk". Although at first glance all six songs may seem similar, they're actually very varied, sparkling with the musicians' inventiveness and creativity.

Talk about a perfect doom album. Sorry, my dear Fins, that place is taken by your countrymen Shape of Despair and their tour de force, Angels of Distress. But you rank just behind them.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 10


Band profile: Skepticism
Album: Alloy


 


written by Daniell | 27.07.2010



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Marcel Hubregtse - 27.07.2010 at 20:24  
Quote:

Talk about a perfect doom album. Sorry, my dear Fins, that place is taken by your countrymen Shape of Despair and their tour de force, Angels of Distress.


No, it is not
That would be either Skepticism's Stormcrowfleet or Thergothon's Stream Of Heavens.
ALthough the production is almost lacking on those tow albums it is very fitting for the music.
My problem is that Shape Of Despair is almost overporduced and thus making it some sort of funeral doom light
!J.O.O.E.! - 27.07.2010 at 20:58  
Yeah this is a very enjoyable little doom number but doesn't really ever come within spitting distance of the genre's greats.

Also agree with Marcel about Shape of Despair, I have a hard time thinking of them as F-doom to be honest.

A solid 8 this. It's strange to see a funeral doom review so focused on production but it's your baby at the end of the day.
Daniell - 27.07.2010 at 22:16  
I think production is VERY important for some genres, doom included, hence quite a bit about it in my review. But I do hope that I conveyed the message about how much I like this album
BitterCOld - 27.07.2010 at 22:18  
I have Farmakon and Aether EP in addition to Alloy - and I think Alloy is their strongest of the three, partially based upon the production. it sounds powerful and smothering.
Daniell - 27.07.2010 at 22:21  
Written by BitterCOld on 27.07.2010 at 22:18

I have Farmakon and Aether EP in addition to Alloy - and I think Alloy is their strongest of the three, partially based upon the production. it sounds powerful and smothering.


A medal for you mate!
Just Take Wormphlegm's 'Tomb of the Ancient King' - good music and extremely gruesome vocals should make for a great release, but the album is marred by shitty production, lowering its overall quality CONSIDERABLY.
Doom MUST sound good.
Marcel Hubregtse - 27.07.2010 at 22:26  
Written by Daniell on 27.07.2010 at 22:21


Just Take Wormphlegm's 'Tomb of the Ancient King' - good music and extremely gruesome vocals should make for a great release, but the album is marred by shitty production, lowering its overall quality CONSIDERABLY.
Doom MUST sound good.



And there I totally disagree.
Wormphlegm will lose in intensity when a clear production is used. I won't call it a good production, because in the case of Wormphlegm such, what you call good, production will only hinder it.
It depends on the sort of doom if has to sound good or not. Epic doom, yes certainly, death/doom dpenending on the sort of death/doom, black/doom nope, funeral doom nope.
Mr. Doctor - 26.12.2010 at 18:20  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 27.07.2010 at 22:26

And there I totally disagree.
Wormphlegm will lose in intensity when a clear production is used. I won't call it a good production, because in the case of Wormphlegm such, what you call good, production will only hinder it.
It depends on the sort of doom if has to sound good or not. Epic doom, yes certainly, death/doom dpenending on the sort of death/doom, black/doom nope, funeral doom nope.


I know very little about production stuff... But I do want doom albums to be LOUD and I don't know... Stormcrowfleet for example... I would love if everything was way more loud, the guitars are completely buried most of the time... But then again that's not the same thing as a cleaner production which imo is unnecessary here...So I garee with you. I just want my doom to be loud and that the guitars aren't that buried...



Oh.... and I still preffer Ahabs debut, the second one is still awesome though.
mz - 06.10.2013 at 11:49  
This might be the highest rated staff review I've ever saw. Made me curious to check the album
Marcel Hubregtse - 07.10.2013 at 01:14  
Having revisited all of Sketicism's albums last week it is safe to say this is their weakest
Daniell - 07.10.2013 at 09:44  
Written by mz on 06.10.2013 at 11:49

This might be the highest rated staff review I've ever saw. Made me curious to check the album


I excel at that
Daniell - 07.10.2013 at 09:45  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 07.10.2013 at 01:14

Having revisited all of Sketicism's albums last week it is safe to say this is their weakest


Having revisited all of Skepticism's albums about a month ago it is safe to say this is their strongest.
mz - 07.10.2013 at 09:51  
Written by Daniell on 07.10.2013 at 09:44

Written by mz on 06.10.2013 at 11:49

This might be the highest rated staff review I've ever saw. Made me curious to check the album


I excel at that

you have given another album a 10 in one of your reviews but 9.8 is still pretty a number
!J.O.O.E.! - 09.10.2013 at 13:01  
Written by mz on 07.10.2013 at 09:51

you have given another album a 10 in one of your reviews

Don't remind us
Marcel Hubregtse - 09.10.2013 at 13:49  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.10.2013 at 13:01

Written by mz on 07.10.2013 at 09:51

you have given another album a 10 in one of your reviews

Don't remind us



yeah you were the first one to comment on that review and I totally agree with you on it. If that album is a 10 then at least two others in that bnads' catalogue are a 13
mz - 09.10.2013 at 15:47  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 09.10.2013 at 13:01

Written by mz on 07.10.2013 at 09:51

you have given another album a 10 in one of your reviews

Don't remind us

well, I did remind you it seems
but seriously, I agree with his review of bong and enslaved. Chances are that I will also agree with this one and that nevermore review
Marcel Hubregtse - 09.10.2013 at 15:49  
Written by mz on 09.10.2013 at 15:47


but seriously, I agree with his review of bong and enslaved. Chances are that I will also agree with this one and that nevermore review


I agree with his Bong and Enslaved reviews but toally do not agree with this review and the Nevermore one
Daniell - 10.10.2013 at 09:42  
Apparently, if there is one thing I will be remembered for on this site, it's the Nevermore review I'm happy to provide such fond memories for some of you
Daniell - 10.10.2013 at 09:43  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 09.10.2013 at 15:49

I agree with his Bong and Enslaved reviews but toally do not agree with this review and the Nevermore one


That's 50% satisfaction rate, not bad

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