With a band name like Chalice of Suffering one might be inclined they’re all scream bloody gore, but these Minnesotans don’t sound like they’ve ever been to Tampa Florida. Instead, you’re more likely to seen them wandering the fields of Whitby, playing heartfelt gothic gloom as they do.
This is their second album after the 2016 debut ‘For You I Die’. Stylistically, no grand shifts have occurred since then. And you would not want them to. Chalice quite consciously stays true to the principles of classic death doom.
As a point of reference I would use Aphonic Trenody or Eye of Solitude. Likewise this chalice is funereal in nature with a solid foundation laid in excellent mournful doom riffing upon which organ like synths are added, which are to be found throughout but never try to overpower the song. It is rather a symbiosis of the two that creates this morose grandeur.
The opening track, ‘In The Mist of Once Was’, stands out particularly through the use of bagpipes. That might be commonplace with your run of the mill pagan folk metal band, but it is quite rare on death doom. Luckily, it won’t exactly have you frolicking about the campfire in your kilt, but rather enhances the funereal atmosphere.
‘Lost Eternally’ tells tales of loss and bereavement, love songs for dearly departed. For such heavy laden topics you need a contemplative voice that candle itself with deep growling grunts as well as clean vocals without going all over the top and sound like a wailing monk. John Mcgovern acquits himself there really well. The band has enlisted also a range of guest singers to bring in some variety. You won’t find any celebrities there, but they are excellent vocalists.
The pace will meander along slowly on melodic leads that sweep across the record and accompany you on these long outstretched walks though their wintry landscape.
Special mention should also go to the moody artwork. In all honesty, the cover on the debut looked a bit naff and way too AD&D for funeral doom, but this time they really found the perfect companion to their sad hymns.
It is a record that has clearly been made with a great love for the genre. It doesn’t try to go where no one has gone before like Bell Witch or drench itself in the bleakest of desperation like Ataraxie or Evoken, but instead choose a path of exquisitely crafted, lovelorn litanies.
Release date: April 19th, 2019
Label: Transcending Obscurity
- In the Mist of Once Was
- Emancipation of Pain
- Forever Winter
- Lost Eternally
- The Hurt
- Whispers of Madness