Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Marble Chariot - The Burden Is So Heavy (2012) | 75%

 The Baguette Doom Series pt. V : Geodude

This young band from Bordeaux managed to impress me a lot with their debut EP, while nothing quite new, it's mixing a lot of different traditional doom schools into one decent half an hour release. What we have here is 3 fairly long numbers with 2 tracks being 10 plus minutes and for a first album, it's more than enough as I don't think their actual sound would work as a full 60 minutes full length as it necessitates some adjustments.

The band, like Bottle Doom Lazy Band (read my review of their album here: CLICK ME ) or Children of Doom is based on American doom. It has the simple despair found in Saint Vitus or in new slow gods The Gates of Slumber. The French scene is pretty inspired by the Reverend Bizarre as well as I can't stop mentioning them in this series and it's not because it's one of my favorite bands. The lengthy compositions, the (somewhat restrained) operatic feel of the vocals and the overall emotion drain reminds me of the productive Finnish scene.

Marble Chariot can sometimes sound like a stoner band but it would be a mistake to classify them as such. The bass is loud and it reminds me of the more laid back/fueled by weed bands but without the psychedelia. Maybe it's because of the raw production (albeit, adequate for their sound). It's natural, warm and not awfully epic or overtly slipping on its own tears like many newer bands of the new doom revival have a tendency to do (I'm looking at you Pallbearer). It can still be emotional while never selling its soul to a crying Jesus. The first track, the shorter one on the release, reminds me of the heavy metal edge of Alice in Chains, the vocals in particular. They have this gritty but clean feel to them. Not as powerful as they should be, they're still pretty cool and fits slower stuff as well.

I was a bit fooled by the song “Orphans of Doom”, it's a very good start for this extended play but the 2 long tracks following it are pretty hit and miss. They're just too lengthy for their own sake. Indeed, “The Wandering Soul” is perhaps 4 or 5 minutes too long and the riffs aren't that good. It still has a nice classic doom solo and awesome vocal lines though. It relies too much on the atmosphere it creates and has very slow, distorted guitars played in an unashamed Vitus fashion. The band could grow if they would add a second guitarist to the lineup as I feel some of the riffs are just way too empty and the songs aren't rich enough. Nonetheless, I was impressed after my first listen as I worship this sound but it doesn't have the songwriting to make it an unforgettable album, not yet at least. It's still saved by the vocals, I'm a sucker for this kind of dramatic clean voice. The album art is also pretty damn interesting, it has this romantic and poetic influence and it fits the songwriting of the band. The lyrics are kind of mediocre though, it's obvious that they weren't written by an English native speaker as they lack depth, originality and subtlety. As I wrote into my Northwinds review, it would be nice if they could write their words in French. I mean, it's not a particularly popular scene, it wouldn't matter that much and it would give the band a more refined identity..

So, the band has a shitload of potential, although they need to write tighter songs since they're good at it. Maybe keep 1 or 2 epic tracks on a full length but write these 5-6 minutes groovy heavy/doom tracks, bands with a varied sound are often the shiniest. They're interesting if you're a doom fan and a promising band for the French doom scene.

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