ALBUM REVIEW: Red Robes – The Order of Israfel

THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL are a Swedish doom quartet who’ve been around for almost five years now. In that time they’ve toured with genre legends PENTAGRAM and released the well-received debut Wisdom. Now back for their second effort, titled Red Robes, can they build on these impressive foundations?

Opening up the proceedings is Staff in the Sand which clocks in at seven and a half minutes. Pretty long for a track that should grab the listener’s attention. It also takes a while to get going with a drawn out introduction. Unfortunately when it does finally arrive the track is a slow pounding number that, while heavy, has very little going on to justify its length aside from a solo that feel out of place on an otherwise uninteresting track. Following on from this slight disappointment is the album’s title track Red Robes. Another long, slow track it at least manages to vary the pace up a little with the soft spoken passages working especially well alongside the crushingly heavy riffs that provide the counterbalance.

In Thrall to the Sorceress is a more old-school approach to doom than the previous two tracks. A shorter track with a big catchy riff and chorus before descending into a pure old school rock n roll section. A welcome break and a chance to show how versatile THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL can be. Following on from this is Swords to the Sky another long track. Taking a while to get going it plods through its seven and half minute length with the occasional bout of interest appearing only to vanish as the main riff returns. In contrast Von Sturmer begins in a similar fashion before making use of that old doom faithful the Occult movie voiceover and a solid solo to continue to hold the listeners attention the entire way through the song.

Next up is the acoustic track Fallen Children. A nice break from the relentless doom on offer it sets up nicely for the final two tracks on Red Robes. A Shadow in the Hills is without doubt the best track on the record, once its minute and a half intro is done with. Pure balls to the wall doom with the catchy riff and a bit of pace behind it, the vocals are delivered fast on here contrasting nicely to the leisurely pace on the rest of the album. Closer The Thirst is a fifteen minute long epic of a track in the style of the first two tracks on the record. A slow pounding beat that builds will no doubt make many a fan of long drawn out doom happy with the way this album ends.

Red Robes is a good addition to THE ORDER OF ISRAFEL’s discography. It’s a solid doom record that covers a bit of everything the genre offers and does all of its elements justice. Unfortunately it doesn’t do much more than that and while it may get spun a few times by enthusiasts it is unlikely to do more than tide the band over to their next record. Fans of the band or the genre will not be disappointed, but they won’t be hugely impressed either.

Rating 7/10


Red Robes is due out May 2 via Napalm Records