Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Beneath The Storm - Devil's Village (Album Review)


Release date: Sept 1st 2015. Label: Argonatua Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Devil's Village: Tracklisting

01 - The Curse Of Elizabeth
02 - The Witches' Sabbath
03 - At The Hour Of 13
04 - Starting The Ritual
05 - Whitewood
06 - Burn The Witch
07 - Tonight Begins The Ritual (Bonus Track, CD ONLY)
08 - Moonlight Through The Trees (Bonus Track, CD ONLY)

Review:

Mysterious One-Man Down-Tempo/Doom/Sludge Metal artist AKA Beneath The Storms is back with his 3rd release – Devil's Village and it's perhaps his bleakest and disturbing release to date. Expect long drawn out drone based nightmarish riffs that have a sinister edge to them.

Opening track – The Curse Of Elizabeth – is an eerie tale about the undead and other disturbing things going on. The music is firmly rooted in slow-paced Doom/Sludge Metal territory. Beneath The Storm slowly builds the atmosphere with lashes of doom matched against pitch black vocals that I've come to expect from the Beneath The Storms. This song sets up the tone for the rest of the album. It's dark, violent, thrilling and packs a lot of chilling moments within it's 51 minute running time.

I forgot to add this is a concept album based on the cult classic movie “City of the Dead” (starring Christopher Lee as “The Professor”, and Patricia Jessel as “The Infamous Witch”). The album ventures into more extreme territory that some Sludge/Doom Metal fans may not be used to. The vocals have a slight Death Metal vibe to them though sung at a slower pace.

Second track – The Witches' Sabbath – creates the perfect balance of Occult Rock/Doom theatrics against the sinister and deadly tone of the recent “torture porn” horror movies. It's very unsettling at times as the riffs are played at a slow pace but with layers of noisy sludge metal to crank up the tension. I still find it hard to believe this is the work of one person even after reviewing all of Beneath The Storm's records over the last few years. You got to hand it to him though as this album is his most diverse and experimental yet.

The album uses actual soundclips from the film - City Of The Dead on all of the songs to give you a sense you're actually experiencing the movie yourself. The guitar work is quite frantic at times especially on tracks such as At The Hour Of 13, Whitewood and Burn The Witch. The lyrical content as you can imagine is bleak and desolate through out. This is the perfect album for all you doom and gloom horror fanatics out there.

The production on the album is good. There's a few moments where the volume could have been louder to get a more dramatic effect. The final few songs on the album is where the album truly comes to life as the music becomes slightly faster and more frantic especially on Burn The Witch and Tonight Begins The Ritual.

My final thoughts on Devil's Village is that's an unrelenting attack on the senses. It's perhaps one of the most highly atmospheric Doom/Sludge Metal albums you'll hear this year. The best way to experience this album is perhaps on Halloween and watch some classic clips from the film on YouTube to get the full effect. A superb and well rounded effort from Beneath The Storms. Lets see what he releases next....

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Barbara at NeeCee Agency and Gero at Argonauta Records for the promo. Devil's Village will be available to buy on CD and Vinyl from 1st Sept 2015 via Argonauta Records.

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