On Pain Of Death - Year Naught Doom (Handshake Inc)

Doom, doom, doom, doom, wonderful doom, wonderful doom, doom, doom, doom...
Release Date: 
16 Sep 2012 - 11:30pm

This album was actually made during 2010/2011 so you may well ask: why am I reviewing it now? No need to get aggro - On Pain Of Death's label Handshake Inc are about to release it as a free download and on limited vinyl so there you have it.

Irish doom/sludge rat-bags On Pain Of Death's three track album still clocks in at over 45 minutes, maintaining the doom tradition of creating songs that run and run (and run). Luckily I'm always up for a spot of sludgy doom so here we go...

First track Year Naught Doom opens with the slow, repetition of guitars with some delightful cymbal work courtesy of Ollie; it's coming! It's coming! You know it's coming! And then the big doomy riffs and vocals kick in and our anticipation is quelled by some vocals that appear to combine the screechy stylings of black metal with the growlings of death metal. A very interesting combination. All the while that initial riff is going on and some haunting guitar runs from Hick and Matt (who also both do vocal duties too) are thrown in for good measure. About four minutes in there's a change of pace with some more great drum work. The production is nice - not too polished but clean enough to hear everything that's going on (a brief cap doff to James Plotkin and John Moffat, who mastered and recorded/mixed respectively). The mix of vocal stylings are coupled to good effect, which are strangely reminiscent of the sounds one makes when choking on a mouthful of virgin's blood at the Sabbath. And we all know what a social faux pas that is...

Tell Your God to Ready For Blood (see that lovely segue there?) is next. It's more of the same sludgy, fudgy goodness like some tottering Behemoth about to topple over and crush your skull. This is the kind of stuff you put on the stereo after pulling 50 cones; you forget it's on and then it suddenly looms out of the stereo at you, freaking the shit out of you. These fellows don't appear to go in for long, wailing solos, instead preferring to concentrate on the rythym which is punctuated with occasional flourishes and feedback. Ryo's bass looms out and makes scary faces at you and like any good doom, it's right up there, where it should be.

Finally we are treated to It Came From the Bog, an epic 18 minute track that starts with an intro of - is that the hum of valve amps?! - and traces of feedback like an audio Willow The Wisp. Ollie's percussion fills the gaps between chords and the vox are like some swamp beast struggling to articulate its first sentence. Overall, a delight of the highest order, although one of the things I love about doom is its slow pace which gives the band a chance to go off on musical explorations (think elaborate drum fills of an almost jazz-based nature or ten minute nob waggling guitar solos) but OPOD don't go in for that. I think a few more guitar runs would have been nice but that's not to say this isn't a great album - on the contrary; I love it.

Now where did I put that bag of stinky weed?