While Smoulder is the talk of the town as far as female-fronted epic doom goes, Concilium is another band in the style that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Bostonians aren’t as battle hardy as their Canadian counterparts, generally opting for a darker tone with more sprawling song lengths, but both bands find solace in slow buildups. There are plenty of moments showcasing Candlemass-style fanfare but there are even more introspective sequences that remind me of Witch Mountain.
These influences are best demonstrated through Paris Thibault’s vocal performance. She possesses a lower-pitched alto that has hints of reverb, primarily delivering lines in a drawn-out Messiah Marcolin-style bellow supplemented by the occasional bluesy slide. It’s a little uncanny when coming into the title track but it settles in quite nicely. Fortunately, the other musicians also service the songs well with guitarist Noah Stormbringer and Greg Massi carrying the songs quite nicely, the latter also serving up the EP’s fuzzy bass playing.
Aside from the three-minute acoustic musings on “Ritual Attrition,” No Sanctuary is predominately interested in long-running doom numbers. While the title track starts the EP with its most grandiose riff set, the band really finds its footing in the more ominous bass-heavy buildup on the ten minute “Halocline.” “Red Sun, Red Moon,” emigrating here from the group’s 2015 demo, operates on a similar template with equally effective results.
Overall, Concilium’s first EP is a strong darkly epic doom effort. The shorter presentation serves the group well; the half-hour runtime keeps the overall style from feeling one-dimensional while the individual songs have enough weight to keep the whole from feeling incomplete. I imagine their method will translate well to the full-length format. In the meantime, No Sanctuary is a great sampler that’ll sit right alongside such groups as Horehound, Benthic Realm, King Witch, or Void King.
“Red Sun, Red Moon”