Thursday, May 3, 2018

Suum - Buried Into The Grave

If an album can rip the house down with its first two minutes, then you know you’re in for a ride, and that’s exactly what Suum does on its first track “Tower Of Oblivion”. The Candlemass inspired riffs and melancholy vocal style of Mark Wolf conjure up soul sucking forces that are just too damn good to turn off. Right when you need to hear it, guitarist Painkiller sends out a maelstrom guitar solo to divide the song’s crushing first half with its ominous conclusion. In the final seconds of “Tower of Oblivion”, vocalist chants in a ghastly whisper that left me cringing -- in the best way possible.

Halfway through Buried Into The Grave’s opening salvo, you may find yourself going backward in time to an age when the doom metal scene was harvesting the ripe crops of a metal scene in need of something new. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus was released at the peak of thrash metal domination and did everything opposite from what that community was into at the time. Candlemass’s first album perfected the boundaries and culture of a gloomy overlooked sub genre that few others dared to experiment with, and to this day most of the best doom records embody the work Leif Edling’s Swedish ensemble left in place. Moody blues rock inspired by the jams of Black Sabbath forged with leviathan punk chords that stalled until death set in became a common practice in the doom metal scene, but somewhere along the line that formula became muddled with a thousand different possibilities and for better or worse the genre evolved. Suum does not muddle the formula or attempt to present an aesthetic that is anything but traditional.

By track two, one should expect that the quality of Suum is going to continue. “Black Mist” is a hypnotizing incarnation of pure doom that follows a righteous format of the genre without succumbing to bogus stereotypes. Lurking in the shadows of the Mediterranean and all its mystique, Suum have risen from the grave of the world’s greatest ancient empire to unleash one of the best debut albums in the scene on an independent label or any label for that matter.

Exciting grooves frequently bring a freshness to the otherwise apocalyptic melodrama of the album. Its titular track is a great example of this. Doom metal is at its best when the music is as invigorating as it is brooding. Empowering chords compliment primitive war drums and a cascade of enthralling vocals.

A doom metal dirge is only as good as the headbanging forewarning that precede it, and I think that Suum did a really good job of capturing both of the necessary elements that make great doom metal songs.

You can tell that the Italian unit is on top of a really pure chemistry of doom metal, and they’re not willing to muck it up, but they don’t disappoint by failing to meet the standards of the forebearers like Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass, or Reverend Bizarre, either. “Seeds of Decay” comes up from a fog in the swamp and clutches you with grooves that ooze all over the track’s 5:44 minute duration. The temptation of death and all of its fascinating entropy is superbly captured.

Like the religious iconography emblazoned on much of Suum’s media, the music of Buried Into The Grave dispels forced modernity with monolithic and antiquated mystical fury. Marco states Suum is not influenced by Christianity, but with so many doom metal bands throughout the ages using the mystical symbolism toward their own ends it just looks right in place on the band's artwork.

Suum proves that truly no greater limits need to be reached with doom metal, and that when done correctly throwbacks can still achieve quality without contriving rehashed styles. The album may be called Buried Into The Grave, but now raised from the dead, Suum is as they style themselves, doom for the doomed.

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