The 11th Hour
Lacrimosa Mortis

So being a huge fan of Gorefest I had to check out the second album from The 11th Hour, a doom metal project featuring former Gorefest (and current Hail of Bullets) drummer Ed Warby and guitarist Frank Harthoon. That respectable duo is joined by Officium Triste growler Pim Blankenstein,  who brings his super deep, typical doom bellows to the fray.

Let me say this first- overall, I love the CD. The sound is one that mixes the somber heaving, rending tones of the Finnish doom/death scene (Shape of Despair,  Ablaze In Hatred, My Shameful, early Swallow the Sun, etc)  as there’s tone of knee wilting melodies, a sprinkling of synths and the deep growls amid the earthy, thick moping guitars. However, there’s one drawback- the clean vocals of Warby. Not they are terrible, but they are slightly nasally and higher pitched. I can see where  they were trying to add a classic/traditional doom, Candlemass sort of vibe to the mix, but frankly they detract from the rest of the excellent elements and they just don’t gel with Pim’s growls. I know clean vocals are staple of classic doom, but they just don’t appeal to me with only a few exceptions (i.e Horn of the Rhino, Funeral,  Solstice, the upcoming Pallbearer). Personally, I think Warby and co. would have been better off grabbing one of the many busty soprano vocalists obviously wandering around the Napalm Records office and have her sing the clean parts. They would have simply sounded better, fitted the rest of the music and frankly even Warby’s cadence and delivery seems suited for a female. A perfect example is the third track “The Death of Life”  the clean vocals just seem perfect for a somber soprano to be crooning.

That being said, Blankenstein does most of the vocals and Warby’s presence isn’t dominating the records and occasionally his voice fits, for example closer “Bury Me”, but the rest of the music more than makes amends with some truly evocative riffs and moments. For example “Tears of the Bereaved” features some fucking gut wrenching samples  lady crying (one of the few elements in music that gets to me) that works amid the emotional music, that comes together to form one of the most soul punching musical moments since the mid section of Shining‘s “Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra”. Warby, despite the minor vocal issues certainly has a firm grasp on doom dynamics and listened to Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride early in is career, as all the riffs, synths and solos are drenched in lumbering melancholy as the likes of “Reunion Illusion” and “Nothing But Pain” amply deliver in their 8 or so minute dirges.

The aforementioned “Bury Me” ends the album with superb,  morose end note in the form of a short but effective 4 1/2 minute eulogy that has a Woods of Ypres vibe to it, and here Warby’s tone works  well on the chorus , though I still think a female vocalist would have simply taken the songs (and album) to a new level. Moments like this show that The 11th Hour have everything it takes to be a major player in the European doom scene and certainly rub shoulders with their more revered Finnish counterparts.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
February 13th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: Clauricaune

    Sounds like my kind of stuff – I’ll give it a listen tonight. I don’t know some of the bands you mentioned there, Erik, so I’ll have to check those too.


  2. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    Love this album, and especially the contrasting vocalists and styles.


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