Thursday, November 27, 2008

Review: Brigantia - Chronicles of Doom (2008)

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Chronicles of Doom

From Ireland's County Tipperary comes and interesting new doom metal band called Brigantia. Getting together in 2007, the trio of Dave Gleeson (vocals, guitar), Neill Nevin (bass), and John Clarke (drums) have released their first recording in the form of the appropriately titled Chronicles of Doom demo. Being their first stab at putting together a recording, the production isn't top-notch but it doesn't really have a significant negative impact on the music. Brigantia's identity overcomes the studio deficiencies and stands out sharply, making Chronicles of Doom an intriguing demo.

What interests me most about Brigantia's sound, aside from the clear Cathedral influence, is the similarity to the style of doom the lads of Type O Negative put forth early in their career. Even before they adopted the blatant Gothic image, Type O was known for lavishly distorted riffs, serpentine time changes, and Peter Steele's angered vocals (far different from his now-famous bass). Gleeson's riffs on Chronicles of Doom are a tad groovier than those on early Type O releases, but familiar distortion tricks can be heard here and there though they he uses them more sparingly than does Kenny Hickey. The time changes, however, run rampant among the demo's five tracks. While mixing things up too much can really bring an album down, it's a testament to Brigantia's songwriting ability that Chronicles of Doom never falters or meanders off track. Instead, each song is full of little nuances that tend to offer something new each time the disc is spun - which to me is a sign of excellent craftsmanship.

As skillful as Gleeson is on the six-string, I won't dare say that he possesses equal vocal ability to Peter Steele. Perhaps partly due to the weak production, Gleeson's voice comes of as being a little thin overall. He's not a powerful singer, but he does convey a feeling of desolation very convincingly. Augmenting his clean delivery is an occasional bark or howl, while "Better Dead Than Red" finds him snarling his way through the more up-tempo sections of the song with a throaty death metal menace.

Even after many listens I had a difficult time isolating a single track as my favorite, since they all have plenty to offer. Whether it's the galloping, groovy riffs on "Churn The Sea", the bold bass lines on "Better Dead Than Red", or the overall sense of hopelessness created by "Definity Found", there's much to like about this demo. They're not necessarily breaking any new ground with Chronicles of Doom, but Brigantia is a very talented band that has a lot to offer metal fans. I'm excited to hear what these guys can do with proper production, so here's to hoping a label snaps Brigantia up soon.

Track Listing
1 Inseminoide 4:39
2 Churn The Sea 4:07
3 Definity Found 5:19
4 Ride To The Sabbath 4:41
5 Better Dead Than Read 5:42
Total Runtime 24:28

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