AN NCS PREMIERE: DESOLATE REALM — “THROUGH THE DEPTHS”
The name of our site has never been a literal commandment, but it’s also fair to say that we tend to observe its mandate more often than we bend or break it. We need a good reason to do the bending and breaking — but we’ve got a very good reason today, thanks to the return of the Finnish duo Desolate Realm and their forthcoming second album Legions.
Formed by members of Decaying, Chalice, and Altar of Betelgeuze, this Helsinki band worship at the altar of traditional epic doom metal, but with a penchant for highly infectious riffs and the kind of potent grooves that kick-start hearts.
Not for naught does the advance press for the album proclaim that it combines “the epic grandeur of doom-metal acts like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus with classic heavy-metal of Savatage and Metal Church and the mighty groove of Black Sabbath“. And we’ve got the proof in our premiere of Legion‘s second single, “Through the Depths“.
“Through the Depths” makes an evil impression with no delay, thanks to the sinister, serpentine maneuvers of the opening riff. But the slug of the bass and the sharp pop and crash from the drum-kit light a fire under the listener’s pulse too. The riffing becomes less fiendish and more haunting and ominous just in time for Matias Nastolin‘s strong voice to arrive and carry forward a daunting melody.
But the fire in the music ignites again, with the guitar darting, chugging, and feverishly skittering, the drums clattering and booming, and the vocals rising high, eventually leaping into falsetto screams. The riffing continues to change, the drumwork of Olli Törrönen continues coming close to stealing the show, and Nastolin‘s guitar solo wails in dismal tones. The evil in the music thrives as the song simultaneously gives listeners’ necks a good workout.
The band offer this comment:
“‘Through the Depths” is a traditional doom metal song with big heavy metal riffs and crushing drums. We decided to try out a slower approach especially on the verses, which worked great to give some additional depth and dynamics to the song. We feel like the album’s production helped a lot to create the correct atmosphere as well. This is a powerful song in the Desolate Realm way. Play it loud!”
We also encourage you to check out the album’s first single, “Forsaken Ground“, which had its premiere at Invisible Oranges. It’s a more fast-paced and feverish song, with elements of classic heavy metal and thrash in the riffing, and it again features electrifying drumwork and vivid vocals, both gritty and high-flying. When the fieriness abates, the music transforms into anthem-like grandeur, though it’s a dark, menacing, and gloom-cloaked anthem. There’s an anthem of a different kind in the soloing this time — a glorious one.
The song confirms that Desolate Realm are quite skilled at cooking up head-hooking riffs, riveting vocal lines, and supernatural atmospherics — and proves they know how to rock the fuck out as well. If this one doesn’t get stuck in your head like a spike, we’ll be very surprised.
Legions was produced, mixed and mastered by Matias Nastolin, and credit for the drum recording goes to Markus Heinonen at Saarni Music & Lammaskallion Audio in Tuusula. The magnificent cover art was created by Badic Art.
If you’re a fan of epic and traditional doom-metal like Solitude Aeturnus, Grand Magus, or The Gates of Slumber, Legions is well worth your attention, and it’s up for pre-order now in advance of its March 17 release:
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