Album Review: CHURCH OF VOID – Dead Rising

Svart Records – Out Now.

Debut albums from young and up-and-coming bands are released pretty much on a daily basis but, judging from many positive past experiences, it is mainly those which carry the seal of approval of the independent Finnish label Svart Records which tend to arouse my instant curiosity.

Their latest release is “Dead Rising” – the debut full length album of an old-school but quite daring Doom Metal quintet, entitled Church Of Void.

Finnish bands always have a unique approach to performing Doom Metal, and Church Of Void are no exception.

Though their appreciation of Pentagram and Saint Vitus is clearly audible throughout this eight track release, these five lads infuse their massive riffs with Amorphis-influenced vocal melodies, atmospheric/dramatic interludes a la Reverend Bizarre and explosive up-tempo punk-like breaks.

The impression created is both that of something fresh and amazing, yet familiar – something that most young bands should be aiming towards with their inaugural releases.

“Tristesse”, the opening track of the album, may not be the most impressive of compositions, but it perfectly showcases the band’s melodic prowess and rhythmical dexterity by perfectly combining a heavy Doom guitar sound with attitude-laden Punk riffs.

Those fans of Pentagram and general weirdness will enjoy the Reverend Bizarre style vocals on “Son Of A Witch” and the relentless groove of “Winter Is Coming”, whereas the emotionally charged orchestrations and Amorphis-sounding vocals in “Dead Rising” are among the highlights of the album.

Equally mournful, but much heavier in effect, “Owls Are Listening” is another impressive offering, while the follow up “The Magician” operates along more established Doom Metal lines.

If there was an award for the most dramatic and emotionally charged composition of the album, the six minute “Entity Of Kalypso” would have won it hands down, while closing eight minute track “Little Child Lost” provides further proof of how well Doom and Punk elements can exist in the same composition when performed by musicians with massive capabilities.

What makes “Dead Rising” such an impressive release is its ability to arouse and surprise at each new listen when, in principle, it is one of the most straightforward collections of songs on offer.

With its focus mainly on emotion and feel, rather than technique, Church Of Void will inevitably attract the interest of fans of traditional Doom, while the most curious of you will find many of reasons to join this very entertaining musical party.

What more could one ask of any debut full-length album?

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

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