Apocalyptic noise monger Maurice de Jong is of course primarily know for his boundary pushing aural masochism on Gnaw Their Tongues. With The Sombre , however, he is revisiting his youthful days when he was part of several undergound doom metal bands like Atrocious, Cauteror and Soulwound.
The Sombre hearkens back to the death doom of the early nineties, the glory days of the so called Peaceville Three: My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema. As such, the debut ‘Into the Beckoning Wilderness’ was actually already released in 2019 in an extremely limited run of 50 CD-Rs. As trve and kvlt as that may have been, the material is just way to good not to deserve a wider release. In the mean while this record has even been followed up by the sophomore ‘Shapeless Misery’ which you should definitely not miss out on either. Both those albums are adorned with one of those renowned Gustave Doré drawings from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’, which suits the melancholic mood of the music like a velvet glove.
In many ways it sounds as the exact opposite of his more avant-garde work on Gnaw Their Tongues or Aderlating. Especially on the former his sonic terror attacks are ugliness incarnate and I say that with a unduly amount of admiration, don’t get me wrong. However, this record exudes a natural beauty and grace that I would not have expected from him. Any fan of old school death doom should be immediately feel pretty comfortable in this warm blanket of sadness and despair.
From the opening violin chords of the synth onward I feel a strong reminiscence to Celestial Season’s classic doom albums along with a clear, undying admiration for Anathema’s legendary debut ‘Serenades’.
The album is comprised of six songs that more or less flow into each other with morose guitar leads sweeping you from one tale of misery to the next. The key to this kind of doom is the ability to show restraint. It is always very tempting to make it sound very pompous and bombastic, but the best records manage to use the space in between the instruments. De Jong has proven time and time again that he is a master of minimalism and this tactic works to his advantage even on a less avant-gardish style like this.
A trip down memory lane for any dyed in the wool death doom fanatic.
Release Date: March 22 2021
Label: Chaos Records
- Death in Black Cathedrals
- A Storm of Black Poetry
- Into the Beckoning Wilderness
- The Mother of Sin and Ruin
- The Palbearer’s Hymn
- Until the Withered Return from the Dark