The Order of Israfel - Wisdom (Napalm Records)

Long form doom with a whiff of folk...
Release Date: 
28 Aug 2014 - 11:30pm

Gothenberg doom merchants The Order of Israfel open their album Wisdom with Wisdom which commences with some gentle harmonics and acoustic - so is this the folk element of this folk/doom outfit? Not really as the mellow is soon replaced with riffage and forlorn vocals courtesy of guitarist/singer Tom Sutton (who you may know from Church of Misery). It's a nice start with a slow, head-shaking slab of guitars. A few minutes in and some slinky percussion takes over and some picked notes eases the pace a bit before building to the fat chug of doom goodness. Suddenly the vocal goes a bit off (for my liking, at least) - it's not strained but just seems a bit out of place. But never mind for The Black Wings A Demon slips in with some sweet dual guitar work from Sutton and Staffan Bjorck (Wildebeest), some 'Ooh yeah' and 'Come on' gets flung about and the whole band gets to shine. I imagine this would come off very well in a live setting.

A lone guitar, haunting, introduces The Noctuus, complete with those lovely hammer-ons that doom fans adore. This is Israfel's Iron Man with some more of that twin guitar. Classic doom telling the story of a ratty/batty creature that fucks things up. Splendid solos are a hallmark of this one and the first five minutes are like an intro to the main section of the song where drummer Hans Lilja (of Lotus fame) beats out some exceptionally fine rhythms as Sutton gets right into the vocal. It's Sutton's obvious abandonment that nails this tune - if only he would let himself go more on some of the other tracks, my joy would be greater and deeper. The folky intro to The Earth Will Deliver What Heaven Desires shows off some rich acoustics and there's a noble, majestic element to this one, despite the heavier section coming across as a completely different song, before it relapses back into the pagan/folky mellowness. The Order busts your chops with an opening chord to wake the dead. Beat those cunting drums and make fire with those guitars. I'm not sure what the chant is (possibly Swedish?) but it fits and at just under a minute and a half, this one is the breather you need before Born For War and Promises Made To The Earth come creeping out the speakers. Promises is nearly 16 minutes long so settle back as Patrik Andersson Winberg's prowling bass makes some sinister conjurations. Spooky and nice, I like it.

The Vow is a vehement spoken word piece that rallies against the Jeebers Aeon and it's a nice lead into Morning Sun (Satanas), again with luxuriously thick guitar work and strong vocals. I dig this album but feel that Sutton really needs to really let himself go consistently when he's busting out the vocals because when he does, it's a marvellous thing.