Acolyte of Moros is the ultimate meeting point between Warning and Reverend Bizarre. The former is most thoroughly represented in guitarist Simon Carlsson’s hazy textures while the latter comes through in the pseudo-operatic baritone of bassist/vocalist Christoffer Frylmark. Of course, both influences equally shine on through the lumbering structures, drawn out lengths, and nihilistic lyrics on The Wellspring.
With eight years of practice and plenty of smaller scale releases since their 2010 formation, it goes without saying that the trio has solid chemistry. The guitar does an excellent job of flowing through ringing chords and gentle arpeggios, with the bass providing an often minimalist but still solid supporting role. The vocals are also thoroughly strong with an unwavering delivery occasionally accented with a growl like that of Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes.
The guitars and vocals will inevitably draw the most attention, but Rasmus Jansson’s drumming really deserves to be mentioned. Considering how these songs almost never venture beyond a snail’s crawl, it’s refreshing to hear such lively timekeeping. The rhythms have a consistently subtle swing and the fills are elaborate without going off the rails. The restrained approach to the instrumental “Forbearance” is the closest thing you’ll get to the monolithic thuds most associated with doom this lumbering. Any drummer will tell you that it’s just as hard to play slow as it is to play fast, and I give them props for pulling this off.
Of course, The Wellspring is very much a niche pick. The trio has more finesse than the average traditional doom group and the songs aren’t as interchangeable as their soundalike tempos would suggest, but they aren’t exactly hooky either. Songs like “Disenthralled from the Trammels of Deception” and “Quotidian” have some stellar riffs, but their ten-minute plus runtimes require a specific mood for all but the most seasoned doom freaks.
Great performances and purposeful writing keeps Acolytes of Moros’ first full-length album from sounding like the ennui that its lyrics portray. The tempos can border on exhausting but little details like the smooth drumming and splendid buildups make it worth riding out. This is music made for doom fans by doom fans, and that intended audience is sure to be more than satisfied.
“Disenthralled from the Trammels of Deception”