The Baguette Doom Series pt. XII : Normandoom
Formed when the defunct Fatum Elisum was still existing, Forsaken Peddlers (they share or shared three members) from Upper Normandy served as a traditional doom metal counterpart to the more extreme inclination of their older brother. This is their debut album released last year and it's quite decent for a first effort.
The four songs full length is a pretty solid epic doom release inspired by Candlemass, Solstice and even modern bands like Atlantean Kodex. The songs are almost all near twelve minutes and it's a bit samey after a while. I think I would had liked the band more if this was an extended play with only two songs. Alexandre's vocals are pretty powerful and he has a lot of range but he's pushing it too much sometimes and I think he's a bit grating. I'm a bit disappointed that the lyrics aren't in French too, I think their aesthetic and style were appropriate for the language. It's certainly a missed opportunity as the singer also has a thick accent, it's not awful or anything but this would had been easily avoided if it was in their native tongue (like Barabbas is doing).
Despite the cover art inspired by medieval religious art, I think the music lacks this certain epic flair prevalent in Solstice. Not that it's a bad thing but I was expecting this sort of personality. Their epic doom is without frills and surprises (except perhaps the middle section of their namesake track), nevertheless they're decent songwriters and there's good riffs to be found here. The opener “The Brave” remains my favorite song, the soloing is good and it's groovy. I think with the lengths of their songs, they could had been more atmospheric and diverse, it's a bit formulaic and redundant. The album feels like it's more than a hour even though it's not even fifty minutes. Writing slow paced compelling traditional doom metal is difficult and these guys aren't the best at it, I think their songs could benefit from a diet since it's still well written but simply dragged down because of their unnecessary length. Still, this is probably me being a grumpy doom fan since I usually like trad doom with long songs...
The production is pretty solid, the guitars are heavy enough and the vocals are judiciously placed in the mix. Despite some of my reservations, Forsaken Peddlers delivers a pretty good debut album and it's a good addition to the burgeoning French doom scene. Fans of epic doom will surely dig these songs of fate and freedom.