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Laudanum: The Coronation

The husband and wife team of Judd and Becky Hawk lead the charge on Laudanum's sophomore full-length LP The Coronation. This band from Oakland CA combines "…punishing, bruised sludge doom and bleak industrial noise experiments…" to quote the press kit sent with the disc. So what does that mean, exactly? It means Laudanum are heavy, nay HEAVY! Sludgy and slow riffs get interchanged with ambient soundscapes. The vocals of Nathan Misterek rip through both these contrasting styles like the bellowing of The Beast itself. The seven tracks which make up this album all flow into each other, giving the listener the impression that this disc is one cohesive piece of music, a concept record of sorts. Of course, as is often the case with death metal growls, the vocals are completely unintelligible so if there is a concept here, one can only guess at the story. Rest assured though, it's probably not a pleasant one. This record just oozes doom and darkness, with some haunting otherwordly, disembodied voices and twisted sonic experimentations. The tracks tend to go from mostly instrumental numbers which focus more on creating a bleak ambient mood, to hypnotic riff-driven tracks which resonate with evil intent. The contrasting styles blend together well and give this band a sound which seperates them from the pack of current day sludge peddlers. One gets a good dose of old-school black metal on this disc amidst the repetetive droning riffs. The pace of the entire album is very slow to place full emphasis on the heaviness of the music.

Admittedly this style is a little outside the kind of musical aesthetic I prefer, therefore, I don't really have a reference point by which to compare these guys to so that you experts in this genre will know where the band stands in comparison to its peers. If you like it slow and heavy with vocals straight from the bowels of Hell, then step up to the altar and witness The Coronation.

  1. Procession
  2. Invoke
  3. In Obscura
  4. Wooden Horse
  5. Autumn Ghosts
  6. The Last Sleep
  7. Apotheosis

Added: September 22nd 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
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Language: english

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