Enter the Italian duo Trails of Sorrow and their debut album Languish in Oblivion. Consisting of two members who go by the pseudonyms of Dying Poet Of Funeral Litanies and Friedrich Restless Soul, the duo offers depressive and, to some extent, minimalistic funeral doom metal which is dark, brooding and very introspective.
Following the aesthetics of funeral doom metal, the album evolves around heavy and slow drun beats accompanying heavy and droning guitar riffs with atmospheric vocals overlaid on top. Combining harsh growls and sad moans, all wrapped in delay and reverb, the vocals suit the depressive feel of the music very well. While the basic musical foundation of the tunes on this album is considerably minimalistic, the way it should be in depressive doom metal, this doom duo make additional use of atmospheric synths and melodic string and piano effects, which generates a melodic and gothic touch. While this is but an ingredient in the overall sound of the album, there are a couple of melodic intermezzos, such as 'In Luce', in which this feel is the primary mode of expression.
In terms of musical potential and artistic vision, I think this album is extremely successful – it basically captures all that is good about funeral doom metal and it is jam packed full of very good ideas and potential – I especially like the dynamics of the composition of the tunes on the album. I do have one major problem with the way that this potential is executed. Making use of digitally programmed instrumentation, Trails of Sorrow's sound comes across very mechanical which, in the universe of my own personal taste in music, just does not go together with the very core of what doom metal is. It is not that I think the slow electronic music does not hold water per se, as I quite like trip hop, for instance. It is just that I, being old-fashioned to be sure, like my rock music to be performed on real instruments, and especially in a genre like doom metal, I think that the organicness of real people playing real instruments is central. This album lacks that feature, and especially the digital quality of the guitars does not sit well with me.
That being said, it is definitely interesting to hear how the Italian funeral duo manage to create a depressive and melancholic atmosphere, using the aesthetics of doom metal but delivering them using a relatively simple electronica-based inventory of sounds (really, we're talking midi-quality here). And, I suspect that this is exactly what the two Italians aimed for in the first place. So, in that respect, mission accomplished. I still, personally, would much prefer to hear this music performed by a fully fledged band on real instruments (this would probably have taken my rating up to 4 or 4.5)... but that just my own personal taste rearing its ugly head.
If you like slow and depressive doom metal, and you are less conservative than me when it comes to the instrumentation, then you should definitely give Trails of Sorrows' debut Languish in Oblivion a listen.
1. Dreams Are Dying
2. Living as to Live is to Suffer
3. A Grave of Loneliness
4. Trees Crying Leaves
5. See My Blood Flowing
6. In Luce
7. Suffering Comes
8. Wonderful Memories
9. A Blinking Shadow
10. Ora è La Fine