A Gaze As Blank And Pitiless As The Sun

Written by: PP on 18/12/2013 20:59:22

It took doom metallers Whelm ten years to release their debut album "A Gaze As Blank And Pitiless As The Sun", a desperate, drown-all-hope type of immersive doom metal experience that is as rich in variety as it is convincing in its nature. Those few lucky enough to have seen the band prior to their dissolution in May know that the previous description extends to their live performances as well, where pure and utter darkness would often encompass the entire venue, pierced only by the slight glimmer of candles cleverly positioned amongst the band on stage. It's a shame that a Danish band of such creative vision and solid songwriting in this genre in particular wasn't able to follow through into the limelight with such a strong album underneath their belt, but such is the nature of interpersonal relationships and their volatile nature.

"A Gaze As Blank And Pitiless As The Sun", as its title suggests, is doom metal of the most depressive kind. The soundscapes are rich and atmospheric, driven by conventional doom metal inspired by the old legends in My Dying Bride, but also textured by elements of post-metal, even sludge as evident on "Ghosts In The Undergrowth" among other tracks on th record. It's a very depressive, slow ordeal, but that's part of what gives the record its charm. The monstrous roars and slow build up of "Event Horizon" that leads into classic black metal style tremolo shredding is back-chilling to say the least, especially when post-metal style roars are juxtaposed on the back, accompanied by some lower growls, and desperation-driven harsh cries.

Elsewhere, Whelm engage in conventional doom, such as on the melancholic "The Brazen Bull" which arguably even references Paradise Lost in its riff department. That is to say, there's melancholic melody attached to the slowly creeping tempo, though here the low-end growls are in key part to separate any other type of parallels to said band. But perhaps the most intriguing track is the short interlude (at two and a half minutes, mind you), "The Wrecked Orchestra". Here, the band opt for an acoustic guitar, strummed in what must be one of the creepiest ways I've heard the instrument played in the past, as well as equally unnerving violin melody, making the whole track feel like a horror movie soundtrack (of the good kind).

In general, the material on "A Gaze As Blank And Pitiless As The Sun" is well-written and convincing, demonstrating capacity to blend several different styles and influences together into a uniform sound that immerses the listener into a proper doom metal atmosphere. It's a real shame these guys broke up.


Download: The Brazen Bull, From The Trenches Of Perception
For the fans of: Process Of Guilt, My Dying Bride, Ophis
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.06.2013
Aesthetic Death

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