Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Church of Void – Church of Void (2017) / 83%

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen

Church of Void from Finland has always been a pretty damn good band but they never really won me over until their contribution to the split album “Coalition of the Anathematized” released last year. In the company of their countrymen Cardinals Folly and the totally underrated Swedish trio Acolytes of Moros, their two songs (“Moonstone” re-appears here) convinced me that they were ready to fight for Finland’s traditional doom metal throne.

The quintet lead by Magus Corvus is surely inspired by the classics of the mid-paced doom style (see Pentagram, Count Raven or Saint Vitus) but they still manage to sound fresh and exciting by bringing some external elements to the fold. Judging by their chosen aesthetics, it’s not really a stretch to say that those guys dig goth rock (true goth rock, hey!) as it’s the main flavor found in their doom recipe. In a way, I’d compare it to “Sister”, the final offering of In Solitude but with a different core sound. God knows I really liked the swansong of the Swedes.

Compared to some of their contemporary trad doom compatriots, Church of Void attacks with two guitars and this really gives the band depth and might. It’s quite obvious in the ending of “Lovecraft” with its lush and subtle instrumentation. It’s also one of the strongest moments of this self titled effort since it goes somewhere else for an instant.

The compositions are often epic in scope but also totally restrained and pack a punch. There’s two songs near the eight minutes mark but they’re not a band willing to go all in like The Wandering Midget (the reigning kind of Finn trad doom, by the way) with extended Reverend Bizarre-esque tracks. That’s probably a good thing since it’s pretty damn hard to pull off if you’re not, well… Reverend Bizarre.

They’re not an “epic doom” band but they have some slight ties to that sound from time to time. I can hear remnants of The Gates of Slumber in the vocals and the galloping riffs (check out “Passing the Watchtower” and its intense riffing.) Corvus has a deep, powerful voice. He’s pretty expressive and totally has the romantic but misanthropic feel you need to have as a doom vocalist. 

I believe the strongest asset of Church of Void is their cunning simplicity masked by strong musicianship and a top notch atmosphere.
This apparent or alleged simplicity makes them a bit too safe but they do have their moments of complete ecstasy. As far as I’m concerned, they’ll never be the best doom band out of Finland but they’ll always have their place as a close advisor to the king as they’re basically faultless.

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