Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Howling Void: Shadows over the Cosmos (2010)

Could it be that this is a theme week here at Full Metal Attorney? Doom Days. Or perhaps Days of Doom. I wish I would have thought of calling it that earlier. Well, for the fourth day in a row, I'll be discussing some doom.

The Howling Void is a one-man funeral doom band from San Antonio, Texas. Shadows over the Cosmos is the second album from the band in as many years.

Funeral doom is not for everyone, as I mentioned in my post on the topic last month. But I also mentioned that it's definitely for me, and the album is certainly no disappointment. Tectonically slow and heavy, with synthesized symphonic atmosphere, the album gives a feeling that's not so much oppressive as Ahab or Evoken, but more depressive like early My Dying Bride. No, that's obviously not a funeral doom band, but I'm just starting to explore the genre, so I can't give a better analogy as of yet.

There are really just 4 songs on here (all over 12 minutes), with a 5 minute all-synth interlude of sorts. At just under an hour it's not too daunting a listen as far as the genre goes. But the songwriting has room for improvement. The melodies on opener "The Primordial Gloom" make it a clear standout, and though none of the others are bad, they're not quite as interesting as they could be.

If you want to depend almost wholly on atmosphere, you've got to make it undeniably perfect atmosphere. Otherwise, the melodies could stand to progress a bit more. As it stands, the rest of the tracks could have been 3 or 4 minutes shorter without missing anything.

The Verdict: It's got a good sound, but the songs are stretched out longer than necessary. I'm sure you could do a whole lot worse. I give the album 3 out of 5 stars.

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