ALBUM REVIEW: Lands – Bereft

America’s atmospheric doom metal band BEREFT return with their new album release, Lands. Following their 2012 release of Leichenhaus, the band are ready to make a comeback to the scene with fresh material. In 2011, the band was founded by Zach Johnson and Alex Linden, with Cade Gentry on bass and Jerry McDougal on drums. With a new drummer joining for the album, BEREFT seem stronger than ever and have claimed that Lands has brought them together in ways they “never thought possible as a band”. By lyrically focusing on concepts such as mourning and death, BEREFT have created a spiritual and doomy 4-track masterpiece, arguably more complete than the last. Even whilst exerting depressive tones, the band have still managed to create lively, energetic songs, enjoyable for any listener with a good taste for doom.

The first and questionably, the most powerful track on the album, We Wept, is a thirteen minute long work of art. Although at first seeming simple, BEREFT transcend the track into a spiritual psychedelic piece of stoner mania. At first opening with hefty riffs and crazy drum improvisation, an atmospheric build up of gentle drumming and intense vocals is introduced. The track later bursts with a powerful energy, making this track an emotionally provocative start to the album. This appealing showcase of rhythmic variation can only be compared to the likes of SLEEP, pioneers of 90’s doom.

BEREFT track The Ritual, exhibits an especially slow series of riffs, bass drum and elongated, ritualistic melodies. Breaking away from the expectations confined within the genre of doom, BEREFT establish death metal-esque (and maybe even slightly hardcore) vocals in The Ritual, a pleasant surprise for those listening to BEREFT for the first time upon the Lands release. As the band are known to portray religious themes through their music, we know The Ritual song title is probably symbolic than it is basic; proving BEREFT to be a band of depth, meaning and talent.

BEREFT took time off touring to focus solely on recording Lands in the late winter of 2015. The time and effort put into the album is clearly evident within all tracks, particularly In Filth. After cymbals are crashed sporadically, the ominous sound of the guitar is initiated into the piece. A sudden surge of intense bass, drums and guitar creates a suddenly overwhelming sense of awe. In Filth is ridden with saintly guitar solos and instruments being withdrawn and again, re-introduced. Even after the diminishing of all instruments, a long screeching sound is heard. This provocative mixture of noise is massively intriguing and unlike anything usually heard in modern doom metal.

The finishing track, Waning Light, is yet another example of a modern band exceeding the expectations of the listeners that are wholly faithful to traditional doom metal. Whilst some still seem somewhat sceptical towards modern doom metal and its potential, there is no denying the sensation that BEREFT inspire in this final track. With an emotional rawness and a soothing finish, BEREFT prove themselves to be a promising upcoming foursome. The truly unique display of innovative thought put into the new album, Lands, concludes that it might just be one of the best doom releases of 2017.

Rating: 9/10

Lands - Bereft

Lands is set for release on March 31st via Prosthetic Records.

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