Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Plaguewielder - Chambers of Death

To start off this funeral doom album review with both a pessimistic and thus fitting statement to set the mood, let me just come clean and state that despite my eager will to promote my home-countries' metal scene, I have pretty much given up on it at this point. Rare seem to be the bands that escape the tendency to string together gimmicky , uninspired and incoherent riff collages to step back and simply pay attention to the overall compositions, which truly saddens me. It is for this reason that I am extremely proud and excited to bring you my review of this debut-record by Plaguewielder from Luxemburg, a lone Funeral Doom band in a country void of any doom metal scene to hold on to.

Like I've said before, one of the most poignant elements that sets this band apart from the rest of the scene is its maturity when it comes to composition and its strong attention to atmosphere and ambience. Right from the start of the record, Chambers of Death captivates the listeners' attention and immerses the listener into its bleak, haunting atmosphere with the majestic "Existence is our Exile", which starts out with the vocalists' hair-raising howling, tortured screams (think Asphyx or Suicidal Black Metal).
With its 48 minute runtime spanning split into 5 lengthy compositions, the band manages to justify its grand sense of ambition with an overall great sense of experimentation complemented by the albums' equally polished sense of progression from start to finish. Thankfully, the albums' production quality, while not airtight by any means, adds a great sense of authenticity to the bands' performance while also offering the band enough means to build up a captivating atmosphere nonetheless. It seems as though the band were well aware of the possibilities offered by their recording conditions and decided to make the most of it, turning it into an asset rather than a limitation.
Whereas Funeral Doom can easily succomb to its' inherent risk at sounding monotonous or long-winded, Plaguewielders' Chambers of Death shows a great deal of diversity and nuance while balancing out the right amount of repetition and ambience to keep a hypnotic, sombre vibe throughout the entirety of the albums' playtime. About half-way into the album, the band introduces some orgue-type synths, creating an interesting mix between the guitars ringing like desolate chimes from a barren cathedral and the 70s' style Dario Argento Horror soundtrack synth melodies. The second to last track of the record also takes an interesting turn with its shrill piano melodies and its heavy post-rock influences. The track picks up the pace and eventually begins its ascent into a beautiful climactic buildup with echoing tremolo picked guitars, sunny synth layers and roomy drums battering in the distance. While this description may make the track seems out of place on a doom record, this temporary change of mood, oddly enough, fits and a complements the overall vibe of the album, adding a nice layer of nuance to the overal sound of the record without ever breaking its progression or mood. The track actually leads into one of the darkest tracks of the whole record "Funeral March", with its massive droning riffs and its gripping sense of gloom; a dark, epic outro toward the albums' conclusion.

Overall, despite a few hiccups here and there in terms of production and "tightness", "Chamber of Death" is a great debut album that shows the bands' great potential and talent.Thanks to the bands' close focus on feeling, ambience and atmosphere, Plaguewielder have put out a gripping, well-crafted record combining tradition and well justified experimentation. The band has nothing to envy from its fellow Funeral Doom counterparts overseas and I dare say this might well be one of the only Luxemburgish band to pull it off. For fans Doom Metal, Depressive Black Metal or even Post-Metal, this is one band from my homecountry that I am proud to present and endorse.

Official bandcamp

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