Doom and sludge isn’t particularly well known for its technicality; the power the Doom genre emits comes more from its overwhelmingly booming nature and the emotions it can draw from the listener. It’s one of the genres where the tracks or albums themselves can often be treated as experiences instead of mere ear candy. SUBROSA are a very good example of experience makers and their latest release, For This We Fought The Battle of Ages, is a testament to the bands creativity and scope as musicians.
It’s been three years since More Constant Than The Gods, and the 2013 album was incredibly well received – taking to the charts in many of the industry’s publications. So to suggest a bar has been set wouldn’t be an overstatement. Thankfully, said bar has been destroyed, obliterated and consumed by this newest album.
For This We Fought The Battle of Ages is massive; words cannot describe the intensity of some of these tracks. What you could call an experimental album has taken the form of a monster pulling you deeper and deeper into a chaotic world of sound. The track listing melds together into one beautiful, unpredictable experience, an experience that envelops the listener. The scale of the soundscape, the to-ing and fro-ing of elements that build the soundscape, it’s huge; everything about the album is huge and the beast in its entirety is massively complex and layered with such a high level of polish.
Imagine the tracks are more like chapters of a story, the complexity of the songs with its numerous vocal layers, strings and phenomenal drums. These chapters amalgamate themselves into this colossal tale. Tracks such as Despair Is A Siren and Wound Of The Warden display huge changes in multiple factors over their substantial runtimes; pacing, vocal style, the whole soundscape can shift like the tides.
It’s in these changes where SUBROSA‘s polish and finesse really shine through, from subtle little touches of violin to huge pounding drums with chunky riffage behind it. Tightness is often talked about but not necessarily applied to Doom or Sludge because of the common tendency to have a rather ‘messy’ sound, when in reality the tightness of the musicians themselves is shown when they know when to be messy. For This We Fought The Battle of Ages flexes its tightness throughout, and demonstrates that every element in the soundscape very much has its own place.
SUBROSA’s take on the genre makes for fantastic listening, and For This We Fought The Battle of Ages could well make for a flagship album for both the band and the sludge/doom scene. Such a huge stylistic spectrum is covered in the short track listing – with Black Majesty’s dark and sombre intro chants to the pounding and almost eastern roar of Killing Rapture.
For This We Fought The Battle of Ages is not to be missed, SUBROSA’s catalogue is damn strong as it is, but this particular instalment is close to perfection. Wrapping so many fantastic elements and sounds into one phenomenally beautiful soundscape. For what is labelled as a concept album, there is nothing to be addressed here – check it out, this is a cracking example of doom as well as sludge.
For This We Fought The Battle of Ages is out now via Profound Lore Records.
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