Chapter 1:Delirium

So Colosseum is from Finland, reside on Firebox/Firedoom, and play funeral doom metal — do you really need to know more?

Painfully slow, lethargic melancholy delivered with crushing guitars, deep bellows, layered despondent harmonies and flocked with synths, Colosseum are the archetype of Finnish doom as played by likes of country/label mates Depressed Mode, My Shameful, Terhen and such as well as non-Finnish acts like Pantheist, Syrach, Remembrance, Saturnus, and Doom:Vs.

And therein lies the main problem with Colosseum’s otherwise solid debut; with such a dearth of doom metal to choose from in the waning months of 2007 and the early months of 2008, Colosseum find themselves competing for listening time with albums I have from the above bands, as well as releases from Draconian, Saattue and Mar De Grises, and frankly it simply doesn’t stand out despite their grasp of the genre’s dynamics.

The six lengthy and sloth-like tracks range from 6 to 13 minutes and they all tend to merge into one long, cavernous lope, glossed with synths and the odd acoustic moment. That’s not to say Chapter 1: Delirium’s bad. It really isn’t. It’s just par for the course and will certainly please fans of the genre, but to these ears the songs are all so same-y — mopey and lacking variety (even within the strict confines of the genre) that the result in one 65-minute long dirge.

Whereas some bands inject a little death metal into the mix (My Shameful, Pantheist) or goth metal (Draconian, Syrach) into the mix — to break up the sluggish pace — , Colosseum is steadfast in their 20 bpm rate for the album’s entirety, and it makes for a draining listen, comparable to Skepticism, Tyranny, and such for synth-drenched, miserably slow music. They do have the expected Finnish melody — weepy guitar licks that dance around the meandering riffs — but it’s never near Swallow the Sun or Insomnium territory. The occasional synth or acoustic break, as heard on “Saturnine Vastness,” are simply not employed enough to make the album require you to stay awake for its duration.

Still, this is a debut album, and one that does the genre right, if too rigidly so. Chapter 1: Delirium will appeal to fans of the numerous bands mentioned above, but I hope the next chapter is subtitled “development.”

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
April 18th, 2008


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