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On Pain of Death: Year Naught Doom

The cover to this recording comes from Harry Clarke's 1919 illustration for Edgar Allan Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar." Among Poe's stories, this one may be the most gruesome. The story tells of how a dying man (M. Valdemar) agrees to undergo mesmerism in his very last seconds of life; the hope is that those experimenting with him will learn about the nature of death if only they can speak to a man mesmerized while he teeters toward the other side. I won't go into all the details here, but I must mention that the story ends with the mesmerists losing their M. Valdemar not only to death, but also to his withering away, becoming a pool of putrid ooze. The cover image for Year Naught Doom captures the moment when the mesmerists realize they've lost Valdemar, the condition of his body, skeletal and horrific, demonstrates his rapid decay. The image is dramatic and grotesque, perfectly in keeping with Poe's approach to the Gothic.

It's probably too much to ask that the songs on this album speak to Poe's story. So far as I can tell, they don't even come close. Still, I like the idea of Poe's tale lurking in the minds of listeners as they ready themselves to listen to this album. After all, this is doom at its finest: gloomy, terrible, and heavy. The music here moves at a slow pace, the guitars drag us through their minimal number of chords, even the vocals are spare, providing just enough texture to the sound created by the other instruments.

I preferred the second track, "Tell Your God to Ready for Blood," even though the tracks aren't awfully different one from another. I think this track stood out to me because it drew on the detuned guitars effectively and established a strong sense of heaviness. The title, too, is arresting, bringing to mind a battle between the forces of chaos and the forces of creation. The closing track, "It Came from the Bog" is also quite cool. I really enjoyed the sense of menace that the opening seconds establishes. The track itself is very patient, sometimes holding a note a little too long as a means of establishing menace. I know that a bog isn't the same thing as fog, but I couldn't help of thinking about horror movies like, well, The Fog, and its ability to establish fear from mist. If you like Doom--and, let's face it, you should--this one is worth checking out.

Track Listing:
1. Year Naught Doom
2. Tell Your God to Ready for Blood
3. It Came from the Bog

Added: October 3rd 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Score:
Related Link: Band Myspace Page
Hits: 1170
Language: english

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