Wind the clock way back to October 2015, we saw a great selection of releases from around the world in differing genres; DEF LEPPARD’s self titled album, TRIVIUM’s Silence in the snow, even W.A.S.P with Golgotha. With so many of the bigger guns dropping new content then it is immensely easy for potential gems to slip through the cracks. Death Poems, from Dutch 5 piece THE FIFTH ALLIANCE, is one of those gems, it is an honest shame that this was not promoted in a bigger way. The album is the doom/sludge genre in its rawest form – there is a huge amount of hardcore influence in here, even noise.
For the content that is being described it is imaginable that this would be an immensely long, overly complex album, it is not at all. 4 tracks; Your Abyss, Fall of Taira, Death Poems and Dissension. Death Poems’ full runtime is about 35 minutes, so it is not long at all, and it is certainly an album you could loop over a few times – the replay value is strong with this one.
Your Abyss makes make for an excellent opening track; it is long, dramatic and bridges a lot of gaps within the bands influences. The introduction on the song itself is gorgeously haunting until its inevitable collapse into a brutally heavy mix of drums and fuzzy/crunchy strings – vocals are the icing on the cake with this track, hardcore-esque in a disjointed way that ultimately ties the track together wonderfully.
Fall of Taira is a track of immense stature; it is aggressively laid down and has a great air of jamming to it. It feels a lot looser than any other song on the album, and manages to convey a huge amount despite it having the shortest run time of any other track on the album. Fall of Taira is loose, punchy and raw, you can hear some hardcore influences here and it works great for the track.
Death Poems, this albums title track, shows a lot of similarities to the previous track as it again is pretty loose with no real rhythm. This time doom is prominent, droning riffs and nice harmonics are tied together with sharp drumming and powerful vocals. Death Poems falls into repetition until around half way through when we reach a crescendo in which the sound becomes fuller and fuller.
Death Poems’ closing track is Dissension, featuring the only acoustic element on the album in the form of a particularly haunting intro. Dissension is a journey, distorted guitars slowly pan in until they take over the opening riff – this initial build up does wonders for the track. Almost regimented drumming stands out amongst other elements; the crisp vocals pierce the soundscape fantastically. Despite the shorter runtime of this album Dissension certainly feels like the album is being drawn to a close, it certainly feels epic, and this is the case as the song itself draws to close.
THE FIFTH ALLIANCE has most definitely put out a strong album here, 4 incredibly strong songs that most certainly stand up in the own ways. This diversity and broadness in influence pays off in the quality of music that has been produced.