Pushing forward to new sonic templates, “Starpath” highlights the transition into a modern doom metal direction for the Canadian duo Justin DeTore (drums, vocals) and Derrick Vella (bass, guitar). Featuring five tracks, the split album begins with “So Many Changes” a haunting growls and bluesy guitar patterns surprising us with the serene and trippy tone of the guitar textures. Even though Dream Unending’s debut album “Tide Turns Eternal” is essential for fans of hypnotic doom death metal, the Canadian duo alternates between clean vocal passages and guttural growls. Dream Unending combines catchy ethereal guitar melodies to create a blissful atmosphere, the use of clean guitars showcasing myriad styles that are similar to bands like Opeth.
The catchy parts are all frontal, including the clean vocals soaring over a backdrop of lush guitar melodies that emphasizes the textural scale of the composition, and there seems to be more focus on the progressive melodic elements than the crushing style of doom death metal. The composition is garnished with beautiful solo segments exclusively presenting a journey of light and the ethereal affair of the duo’s musical experiences. “If Not Now When” is one of the heaviest songs ever made by Dream Unending, it begins with a haunting growls of Justin DeTore and consists of memorable melodic riffs that are sleek and fluid.
Each of the two songs is made to take you through spherical paths to transcendence, the guitar solos move into lush emotional, and dreamy quality. The guitar riffs have an almost progressive and jazzy feel as it contrasts with the vocals and with the drumming of Derrick Vella busting out the beats, the main melody of the song. It’s like a beautiful mirage of heavenly realms that makes use of the harmonies amidst the strumming of the shimmering guitar effects. The direct influence of jazz fusion, post-rock, and the undiluted doom fragments make up the whole music of the Canadian duo.
Side B of the split album presents three exclusive songs from the U.S. blackened death doom band Worm see’s Phantom Slaughter (vocals, guitars, and keyboards), Wroth Septentrion (lead guitars) AKA Philippe Tougas (Atramentus, Chthe’ilist, and Funebrarum) Necreon (bass guitar) and, L Dusk (drums) honing a very distinctive if not unique compositions to fit a neoteric and raw sound with unprecedented focus on the semi-symphonic raw black metal. The eerie sense of foreboding on the gothic synth a la Tartaros, Dimmu Borgir, and Limbonic Art makes the most of the opening song “Ravenblood”.
The chilling effect of the keyboards permeates the ghostly atmosphere in a way that unfolds a dark menacing feel, the addition of Wroth Septentrion as the lead guitarist on the preceding EP “Bluenothing” brought forth a complex and textural sound. Meanwhile, the drumming is fantastic, adding a slow but balanced effective pace with the storming rhythm cloaked in utter cold darkness. It certainly shows how Worm had evolved as a four-piece band, the symphonic elements are enchanting as they seem to cascade forth from the hoary chambers.
Aside from the ravenous rasps, and dark symphonic crescendos of Worm’s grimoire, we get treated with some cosmic guitar solos from Wroth Septentrion that enhance the menacing atmosphere. “Midwinter Tears” conjures up incredible sonic artistry from Phantom Slaughter, who has a fine sense of weaving haunting synth passages. A true connoisseur of symphonic black metal art, however, the song beautifully melds the elements of death/doom and the wailing guitars casting spells with the unbinding sly and abrasive guitar solos that are on display with chord-laden hooks. There are some hints from bands like Disembowelment and Goatlord that are finely intermixed with plodding drums and blackened cosmic riffs. Reeling dark poetry of spectral gothic fantasy, at times Worm summons the old spirit of Katatonia and Diabolical Masquerade.
The beautiful interplay between the wafting organ instrument and the whirring guitar solos of the closing track “Sea of Sorrow” engulfs the whole atmosphere as the creeping synth and the raspy vocals settle into a mid-pacing tempo while the drums take a throttle to the pacing that seems to focus on the effect of the gloomy synth creates a dusky gothic feel and the blackened death doom riffs that are much in the vein of early 90s black metal.
“Starpath” is another worthy release from Worm and shows drastic changes in the songwriting and the natural progression from the band’s predecessors like “Gloomlord” and “Foreverglade”.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
- Mix / Production 8/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 9/10
“Starpath” unfolds the blissful serene and grim nature of Dream Unending and Worm in a special release, integrating the light side of yin and the dark side of yang in a beautiful symmetry.