Since my review of Lord Mantis earlier this year I have been getting into doom/sludge metal more and more. I have managed to sample some excellent stuff from bands like Acid Witch and Electric Wizard to Grand Magus, which has broadened my music taste from the same old death, black and thrash metal void I usually find myself in. Enter Bereft, hailing from the L.A. California, USA. The band is a bit unknown still as 2012 will see their first full-length album titled “Leichenhaus”.
The album takes a rather grim theme in terms of lyrics and the sound itself is very “doomy” if you can call it that. Slow paced, yet relentless. It generates a sound that sets a rather morbid mood, to say the least. It’s like an ocean, relentlessly beating away at he rock and boulders of the shoreline.
But what does it sound like you ask? Nothing I have heard yet to be honest. It has a very unique sound to it as the first track titled ‘Corpse Flower’ roars into action with a rather “Necro” sound to start off with. It is dirty, yet gritty. It serves as an intro for the album. The track really does hint at what the album is all about, as we are set for a rather morbid journey.
The second track titled ‘Mentality of the Inanimate’, which already speaks volumes, follows up where the first track left off and continues its morbid theme. The guitar work puts one in a trance-like state, which is absolutely outstanding and hints towards a more like stoner-doom approach in that regard. The drums and vocals give it that evil edge that keeps it in check with the cold dark atmosphere. The vocal work is slow, deep and piercing. One could also pick up a hint of black metal in terms of how the riffs just cling together. As is traditional in doom metal, or doom metal I have experienced, is that it is rather lengthy, but one barely notices.
One of the tracks that really made my ears twitch is titled ‘Withered Efflorescence’ as it kicks off with a rather toned down intro involving an acoustic guitar after some more “traditional” doom riffs, which is a nice touch in terms of variety. The riffs the take a turn towards a more doomish/sludge style with excellent vocal and back up vocal work. The riffs have an almost, dare I say it? Katatonia tone to how they let it ring. The rhythm is in many ways very stagnant and one could barely pick up changes in rhythm, if there were any. Very subtle changes in pace maybe. The riffs are killer and the drumming just helps it on its way. Excellent track by all accounts.
The album consists of 6 songs in total, which really does combine the disciplines of both doom and sludge metal in immaculate style and fusion. Riffs are killer and the morbid mood that the atmosphere contributes just makes it that much more enjoyable. The album is just shy of the 40-minute mark, but it is quite an intense trance-like 40-odd minutes to say the least.
I would definitely recommend this album to all lovers of doom and sludge metal. If you enjoy bands like: Electric Wizard, Acid Witch, Grand Magus and My Dying Bride. Check out Bereft.