Vessels of Light and Decay

The floundering economy and end of the world hoopla must have had a lot of people feeling down in 2012 because it sure was a great year for all things doomy. Long-running acts, Paradise Lost, Asphyx, and Evoken released what was arguably some of the best material of their over two-decade careers while relative newcomers, Pallbearer, Faal, Anhedonist, Tempestuous Fall, and Bereft, gave them all a run for their money. And, the widespread praise they deservedly received proves that the passion for this style is stronger than ever, making it the perfect time for British death/doomsters, Indesinence, to come out of their 6-year hibernation. So, how did their new opus stack up to the stiff competition? Well, the answer is a little more complicated than you might expect.

Initially, I didn’t find much to connect with. Most of the genre’s tropes seemed absent. There were no emotional melodies to latch onto or miserable feelings to get lost in. I thought they might expand upon the Disembowelment-esque leanings of their previous works, Noctambulism and Neptunian, but I wasn’t getting that feeling either. The attitude I did get was more like that of death metal, but not the variety of the groups they share members with, Binah and Cruciamentum, as would be expected. Surprisingly, the first band that came to mind was Demented Ted. That may seem like an unnecessarily obscure reference, but the guitar work and general tone made me think of Promises Impure on a few occasions, albeit at a more subdued tempo. I was also surprised to hear elements of Akercocke in the use of dissonant chords and occasional strained, shouted vocals. Several moments throughout the album – such as last few minutes of “Paradigms” and the mid-section of “Vanished is the Haze” – had me thinking of tracks like “Leviathan” and “Verdelet.” At times, I also had flashbacks to the slower passages of the underrated Morbid Angel album, Gateways to Annihilation.

So, comparing this to other contemporary death/doom is a bit of an “apples and oranges” situation. However, there are some aspects that plant it firmly in that genre. The majority of the tracks range from around 8 to 15 minutes in length, and their pacing and linear, serpentine structures hark back to the early days of My Dying Bride. Also, I hear some Evoken and Dusk (US) influence in the keyboards/synths sprinkled throughout and the plodding, whispered, clean-guitar-driven three-quarters of album closer, “Unveiled.” Plus, the ambient instrumental, “La madrugada eterna,” while obviously not metal, is still doom-related with its strong Trial of the Bow-like atmosphere.

All of this together creates a sound that’s immediately familiar, but reveals many different layers upon repeat listens. The influences may be discernible, but they’ve never been combined in this way before and with such subtlety, which can be fully appreciated thanks to the clear, heavy, natural production.

Another interesting facet of this release is its packaging. The beautifully illustrated, slightly cartoonish cover art and digibook case gives the appearance of some kind of pernicious kids book. It doesn’t quite match the music and atmospheric photography on the internal pages, but I appreciate its execution and creativity. It’s certainly different than pretty much every other metal cover I’ve seen.

For their Profound Lore debut, Indesinence have composed an imposing, sophisticated work of anger, strength, and desperation, but with none of the sorrow that often comes with this style. It took some time to get my head around its insidious intricacy, and I’m still not sure I have entirely. I look forward to hearing where they go next. I just hope I don’t have to wait another half-dozen years to find out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Adam Palm
January 28th, 2013


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