Out of all of the classic styles of metal, doom is the one that has never clicked with me. Perhaps it is because it is fundamentally opposed to my favourite style of metal (thrash), but it often lacks the energy I seek from metal. With that said, I still check out the occasional doom metal record because you never know when you’ll find something interesting. My most recent attempt at getting into doom was through Poisoned By Life’s “The End”. This is the first full-length from an American band, and it features three lengthy epics and a normal length song, alongside a short instrumental.
“The End” opens with “Burning”, which is a song that gets better as it goes along. This track is everything I do appreciate in doom. The riffs are at the forefront and crush the listener with their weight. The guitars occasionally bring in some dissonance as a change of pace from the low end. The guitar solo in this song is not particularly flashy, but it fits in well with the rest of the tune. The latter half of the track is especially great; it becomes much more upbeat and the riffs are even more devastating than before. It’s fair to say that the song loses some of its doomy charm in this section, but this has always been the best way to play the style for me.
After the killer opener, the album takes a steep decline. The remaining tracks feel like they wander without a purpose, and the riffs are no longer impactful. None of the songs are particularly memorable, but they also don’t feel eventful. The relatively lackluster performances (vocals, guitars, drums) do nothing to save the songwriting. The bass playing is pretty decent, but doom has always been one of the best styles of metal for bass because there is so much room for the bass to add interesting lines beyond just following the guitars.
Without an extensive background in doom, it’s hard to say whether or not this album will appeal to most doom fans. I have no doubt that the opener will slay everything in its path and intrigue all fans of metal, but that song is barely a quarter of the album. If you prefer metal to be minimalistic and not particularly technical or modern, “The End” is going to fit the bill. Otherwise, Sabbath is more than enough to fill your doom needs.
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3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott