Brand new and prolific to boot, one man Australian blackened thrashers Doomcave (led by Aiden Vestgaard) are set to not only release an EP The Fires of Torment but also the full-length subject of this review Woebegone in 2017.  Melding melodic lead cadences with wolf-hearted blasts, schizophrenic vocals (psychotic and clean), synthetic grandeur, revolting black/thrash speed picking and turbulent song structures; Doomcave offer a varied take on the style worth your time.

It’s apparent from the first millisecond that a wealth of subtlety and sheer violence is Doomcave’s forte (Aiden is very much capable of some excellent change-ups).  Opener “A New Order” is a blinding hurricane of double-bass, mutant tremolo guitar runs played at light speed, melodic undertones, a touch of synth, moon chewing arpeggios and ruthless vocal hatred spanning death growls, higher screams, throaty roars, cavernous singing and everything else you could imagine.  What really won me over is the descent into groovier riffage that really allows the listener to latch onto the arrangements.  Noise flutters off like a butterfly in a raven swarmed night sky before the psycho crust-blasting returns…the overall impact reminding me of Dissection, Secrets of the Moon, Hyadningar, Darkthrone, Seagrave, Bathory, Garden of Shadows and the woefully forgotten melodic/harsh black metallers Oakhelm.  Solos rip, early Katatonian melody bleeds like an open wound on a gurney and the onslaught is sickening and catchy in the same frosty exhale.

“Falling Light” makes effective utilization of a gothic, funeral doom synth introduction and features the voracious verbal destruction of other Australian scream-spitters Chris Gebauer and Adrian Ganter.  A mutinous mid-tempo thrash riff forged on Satan’s anvil constructs pillars to the elder gods of evil; a dangerous climb to an eventual Everest-tall, frozen alp of infectious riff incisions.  Lightspeed blasts will fill your gut full of bullet holes Al Capone style which oddly enough signifies another melodic shift into shimmery lead work, emotive vocal howls and oozing, slowed-down thrash riffs that struggle for gasps caught amongst the undertow.  Heaving doom breaks last only seconds until the next skin-ripper blast blows your speakers apart with well-placed warheads.  Any melodic respite is exiled from its kingdom; so-called royalty led down a desert path with crucifixion the only destination.  Again those raging solos add a touch of class to the glass shard riff/vocal dissonance and ill-tempered death blasts.

Waves crash against the shoreline, seagulls beckon for food, booming kick drums and contemplative clean chords set the stage for the maelstrom of “Majesterium.”  Multiple vocal deviations map out a musical portrait of schizophrenia (gruff cleans, lung-raping screams, death-y growls).  Amidst the shrapnel of warp speed blasting and razorwire riffage, this tune really shines when it adopts control betwixt the ferocity.  Doom-ridden breaks make use of stuttering double-bass rushes, pinch harmonics and angular ambient shifts before heart-wrenching lead melodies and sludgy power chords weigh the material down for intensely meathook strung complexities.  Synths provide grandeur, not cheese and it helps open up Doomcave’s material into a dynamic sandstorm where literally any form of Armageddon could rain down next.  “Messiah (featuring Drew Griffiths as a guest)” continues the witch’s brew of skin-dissolving, bubbling acid but despite the overload of agile blasting interspersed with melody there are a few KILLER slowdowns into twisted branch, lightning struck Celtic Frost riff sloth; yielding the tune more torture rack pain than most; rendering it one of the best songs on the album for my mindset.  The typical scathing screams are backed by vomiting death metal vocals and monk-on-acid chants for even more opaque carnage.

Echoing, melody-dipped chords, autumnal synths and the perilous screams of a lady in danger summon a Giallo atmosphere as “Self Worth” dredges up punchy, off-time double kick syncopation with moonlight washed guitar leads lending false hope for a calm track.  For the record, though sonic debauchery all about full-throttle speed and circular saw riffage are a prime component here, there are several moments where the music is driven by demonic, raspy whispers and regal keyboard licks.  Murky grinding doom riffs merge thrash tonality with a druidic hypno-head-bang.  Skybound clean vocals join in to buttress the knotted noose filth and even piano textures accompany the tenacious sludgy grime, but despite a hearty mixture of styles/genres this is black metal just the way I like it.  Brendan Preston joins in on “The Leech,” another composition which heavily enforces a synth build-up and atmospheric background textures.  Such tender ideals are given a puke spray of screeching harmonics, dangerous road curves of fast blackened metal and desolate doom breakdowns where Aiden trades his slimy scream with Preston’s dramatic croon.  There’s plenty of stuttering thrash and almost hardcore breakdowns to give your neck a real workout and the reversions to deviant sludge creeps lend a dual-edged knife to the proceedings (special props to that Celtic Frost themed lurch at the 3:16 mark).

Rounding out this nightmarish descent into sleep apnea and boogeymen peering through the cracks in your sliding closet door “Dreams” has a syrupy, molasses covered riff-slice composed of churning, chugging death metal density whenever the high-end guitar blackness, sneering voice lacerations, humming synths and chanting vocals kick in.  “Empire” reroutes the band’s uncharted course entirely by opening with haunting pianos (reminding me of Mindrot for some odd reason) and gothic, baritone vocals.  If it was possible to transform a sweeping, infectious power metal epic into a throat-slashing black metal anthem…well folks, this is it.  Evil still permeates every pore as vocals sneer and beats blast to abandon but the guitar work is saturated with harmony-laced chords and meticulous song-construction.  This is REALLY reminding me of Garden of Shadows’ Oracle Moon with death metal swapped for a black metal bent.  The sharp, broken bough aggression is the perfect juxtaposition and I could find myself listening to this song over and over and over again.  Closer “Spirit” lays into a subsonic sludge-lurch that’s the equivalent of Candlemass/Cathedral getting ripped through the same black hole as the Event Horizon.  Eloquent, neoclassical leads combine immaculately with bellowing melody vocals and short, shattering punctures of double-bass.  As the vile doom crawl continues the singing begins towering into saliva spewing intensity without forsaking the hooks which gives STDs a run for their money in the catchy department.

Doomcave impressed the fuck out of me with Woebegone.  As merciless as any black metal to come down the pike, the record is also chockful of thinking man’s melodies, agonizing doom chugs and absolutely no singular adherence to what black metal “should be.”  Because of these liberties taken (for my cash), we’re looking at one of the best black metal records to drop this year.  Fuckin’ great stuff…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
July 25th, 2017


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