This year we are witnessing a phenomenon that, at this point, goes far beyond the pure coincidence or fortuity: there are four relatively young metal formations, all coming from the same geographic area, which have imposed themselves with their new albums among the best formations of doom metal, worldwide. Let’s find out together in this article who are these formations and let’s listen to their fantastic music.
Sinistro, from Portugal, have appeared into the doom metal scene in 2012 with their self-titled debut album, and they arrived this year to third LP of their discography, Sangue Cassia. Their new work is an album for those who have time. Time for long songs, time for repeated listens, time to get rid of all the distractions and be carried away by the incredible music composed by the band. And because of the above, this album is absolutely out of context compared to our days, when most people want simple and short songs to be heard in the background while chatting or driving.
From a musical point of view, Sangue Cassia is an hybrid album which results quite difficult to tag and catalogate into a single genre. Let me define this as a variant of the classic doom-metal that incorporates heavy influences from post metal and some slight elements from sludge. One of the main features of Sinistro, and perhaps the most brilliant element of their music, is undoubtedly the splendid voice of Patrícia Andrade. Her vocal lines are the instrument through which the songs of this album rise from normal doom metal tracks to something deeper, and special. At times it seems that all the music composed and played by the group was made exclusively to be the soundscape over which the singer could release her charismatic charge and free her splendid voice.
Grajo is a psychedelic doom band from Cordoba, in Spain, which is active since a few years and that have published in 2018 their first full lenght record, Slowgod II. Comparing the new album with the previous works from the band it’s possible to recognize how they’re trying to make their music relatively more accessible and, as such, potentially capable to hit a wider audience. The debut LP, however, shows that this has been achieved without compromises in quality and inspiration.
Grajo plays a doomish version of stoner rock that manages to move with great ease between trippy moments and more abrasive sections. The LP consists of 6 tracks, all of them interesting and deep, with a couple of peaks which elevate the album among the best things we heard so far in 2018. One of the most interesting characteristic of the music from Grajo is the capacity of these musicians to build up breathtaking atmospheres and to insert so many interesting and varied elements in their songs that, in the end, the experience of listening to the album becomes a very pleasant journey with many stages. It’s easy to recognized the great effort that these guys from Córdoba have put into the realization of this work: the songs are never imprecise or approximate, and the band really managed to balance the multiple influences from which they draw, without ever losing the direction they have given to their music.
Thanks to one of those fortuitous circumstances through which we sometimes discover small niche groups, a few weeks ago I came across the new work of the Italian group Messa, which has released an extremely interesting album called Feast for Water. The band plays an intriguing blend of genres that they define “Scarlet Doom” and which merges basically the sounds of stoner metal with the style and themes of doom. The recipe is further enriched with nice inserts of avant-garde and sonorities of the 70’s, and the final product is then completed with the beautiful voice of the female singer Sara.
What is really fascinating about this album is the global sense of elegance that permeates the entire work: nothing is trivial, exaggerated or rough. Every sound is cured and studied in a meticulous manner and especially in the slowest and atmospheric pieces it seems to be listening to the sound of a jazz enemble rather than your typical doom metal band. One thing that maybe is lacking in the album is the presence of solid and memorable melodies that could remain impressed in our musical memory for a little longer. In some parts of the LP, in particular, it seems that style and elegance take all the attention of the line-up, but the band is young and there is still much room for improvement.
Mística is a relatively new doom band from Spain which released their first demo Embrio I on January 2017 and exactly on year after they released their first full-lenght LP, Embrio II.
The duo of musicians which play in the band show in this album a great capacity to enrich their particular version of doom by drawing on many other metal genres, but without alterating too much the essence of their music, which remains characterized by slower tempos and thick atmospheres. The level of quality of this production is good and there are a few particularly engaging and emotionally impressive tracks.