Dead Sacraments’ approach to doom metal reminds me of a cross between Destroyer of Light and Thronehammer. The Illinois group’s full-length debut Celestial Throne sees the former’s mournfully dark overcast set to the latter’s crawling tempos, uniting them with monolithic riffs and gruff clean vocals. It’s a little too melodic to qualify as drone or funeral doom yet also [email protected] drawn out for traditional or epic doom. It’s a familiar sound but not one that clings to a single label.
The musicians are certainly able to live up to the style. While the guitars set the atmosphere up through a series of crushing chords and gentler leads, the bass’ fuzzy underbelly is an undeniable source of power and the drums provide a loose sense of direction. The vocals also prove to be interesting; the lines themselves can be a little too abstract but the echo effects in combination with the baritone layering work to shape the album’s tone even further.
And with Celestial Throne’s four songs totaling to an over forty-minute runtime, it’s fair to say that things never stray from the low and slow. An exclusive fixation on creeping tempos can make the songs run together at times and while it never reaches a point of agony, one finds themselves hoping for more interludes or a punchier track to shake up the lingering monotony. Figures that the album’s longest song, the twelve-minute “Stars Fall, Stars Rise,” ends up being the most effective track thanks to its effective atmospheric transitions, but I can also get into the building chug on “Cracking the Celestial Throne.”
A few more ear-catching riffs would make Dead Sacraments’ full-length debut an easier pill to swallow, but Celestial Throne is a safe bet for those who like their doom metal dark and hardy. The individual songs would’ve benefitted from wider variation, but the overall whole stays pretty manageable and the musicianship is rock solid. I can’t see this having much appeal beyond niche doom fans but they’re sure to get a lot out of it.
“Cracking the Celestial Throne”
“Stars Fall, Star Rise”