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Skepticism: Ordeal

Skepticism, for the uninitiated, are one of the originators of funeral doom – a real laughfest of a genre. Their first album for the eclectic Svart records and fifth overall, Ordeal is also the first Skepticism full-length since 2008's Alloy. Instead of going the usual recording-in-the-studio route, the band decided to record this new album live before an audience on January 24th 2015 at Klubi in Turku, Finland, with the event also captured on film as the set is available in more than one format. The visual portion was not available for review.

The unusual recording circumstances were positive according to the band. "Recording the album live was a positive experience. I've come to think of Skepticism being at its best live, and the Ordeal session proved it for me," says keyboardist Eero Pöyry. "Having a whole day to concentrate in one shot at a perfect performance brought in a good pressure - and a bit of an ordeal (see what he did there?), as well." Drummer Lasse Pelkonen opined, "Recording live made the album sound a bit rough and dirty, which is suitable for us in any case." "Recording live suited me well as a musician," Eero continues. "Only being able to fit in what your hands and feet can do at a time made me play only the essential."

Now, it is very fair to say that funeral doom is not something I reach for every day by choice but that's not to say that there is not a good deal here to appreciate. It's a well-mannered album; it's quite relaxed if unsurprisingly bleak and sparse. The lack of bass player doesn't overly hurt things but probably added even more heft to the recordings as at times the sound could do with a touch of thickening. Ordeal may only have six tracks but it doesn't scrimp at all time-wise and it may be wise to listen to the piece in a couple of halves as the breather in between may well be helpful.

Track Listing:
1). "You"
2). "Momentary"
3). "The Departure"
4). "March Incomplete"
5). "The Road"
6). "Closing Music"

Added: October 23rd 2015
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1866
Language: english

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