Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Loss: Despond (2011)


DespondEven among metalheads, funeral doom is not a genre with wide appeal. The reason is probably that most bands in the genre are content simply to plod along without doing anything interesting. Even some of the good ones are happy with atmosphere alone. Only a handful of great funeral doom bands create mood and melody.

Nashville's Loss is one of those great funeral doom bands. Despond is only their first full-length, but they already display such mastery of the genre that I have no qualms about declaring their greatness.

In many ways, they sound like Sweden's Doom:VS. Loss paint with the same melodic palette, but they paint with broader, more deliberate strokes. The canvas is slathered with ultra-heavy guitars and bass, and sparse but steady drums, and it's highlighted with clean melodies and whisper-growls. A few respites from the heaviness, but not the darkness, can be found in the ambient "Deprived of the Void" and the piano-driven title track.

It's a rare funeral doom record where you can tell one song from another. As if the melody wasn't enough, there's some sonic exploration here to help. I don't know if there's a name for what the guitarist does at 0:33 in the Evoken-like "An Ill Body Seats My Sinking Sight", but it sends chills up my spine. Dissonance punctuates "Shallow Pulse". "Conceptual Funeralism Unto the Final Act (of Being)" spends a lot of time in the upper registers, while almost Benedictine backing vocals add drama. A highlight of the album, "Silent and Completely Overcome" has clean vocals, some eerie work on the guitar strings, and a bit of faster pace late in the song.

The Verdict: Despond will undoubtedly be hailed alongside The Call of the Wretched Sea and Antithesis of Light as one of the landmarks of the genre. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


  1. I'd agree that this is one of the better funeral doom albums to be released in past few years. They've got a great sense of dynamics, but stay within the genre framework.

  2. This sounds interesting. I have been trying to figure out where to go next with this genre. I have the Ahab albums and the Catacombs album which I strongly recommend.

  3. I also highly recommend Antithesis of Light, of course, or failing that A Caress of the Void.