Album of the Month

Scottish Prog/Sludge band Of Spire & Throne deliver a suffocating beast of an album with this great sophomore full-length.
(Read more)

Featured debut

Classic revisited

Random band

Crushingly heavy and slow Sludge/Drone Uber Doom band in the vein of bands like Khanate, Halo and Bunkur, with a surprising industrial doom...
(read more)

Latitude Egress : To Take Up The Cross

Latitude Egress's debut is devoid of any weaknesses as far as the eye can see and the ear can hear.

The initial reference made by listening to the very first sounds that open Germany's one-man band Latitude Egress's debut album, fully named 'The Take Of Latitude Egress On How To Take Up The Cross' (also known simply as 'To Take Up the Cross'), is that of Urfaust, given the sparse and airy nature of the rock 'n' roll-tinged Black metal sound and riffage, and the high-pitched, semi-hysterical, clean singing that follows. Then, as the first track progresses, the music reminds us of a cleaner, more tame version of Bathory's 'Blood Fire Death' title track, where the calmer, slower and more epic parts emerge; and probably any of the subsequent Bathory albums, either 'Hammerheart' or 'Twilight of the Gods' will come to the listener's mind, or maybe a little bit of both...

'To Take Up the Cross' is an obvious vocal-driven album that adopts Viking Metal aesthetics, cramming those into an Epic/classic/traditional Doom metal framework. The result is fascinating and highly engaging. It's not an album anyone would find hard to get into, being overall comprised of rather friendly and quite melodic compositions of slow-to-mid-paced velocities and straightforward, simple song-writing, but the sheer melancholic beauty of the recording is nothing but engrossing, to say the least.

Hailing from Germany, Niklas Thiele, Latitude Egress's sole member, is apparently a veteran musician in the metal underground, but his other projects don't ring a bell - this album, however, might very well be the one album that would shatter the glass ceiling of anonymity for this talented musician, for this album is the embodiment of a lesson well learnt, in terms of musical revivalism of both the Viking and Epic Doom metal movements, where they both have coalesced in a shining, clever and transcendental a manner; a recording that breaths forth a new and fascinating sub-genre: Viking Doom metal, imagine that.

'To Take Up the Cross' is the face and sound of epic music, if there ever was one; each moment - a majestic revelation, each riff - a sparking nobility that summons austere, harsh and divine naturalistic vistas, mental black holes and sensual, carnal pleasure and pain. Epic music, as in being the alpha and the omega of both existence, meta-existence and non-existence, but in a way that's never a filth generator or the sonic engine for human decadence, but rather the opposite: a crystalline, refined, pure personification of the greatness embedded in humanity and Nature alike, a ray of frozen, blinding light that awaits those who transfigure and go beyond the flesh and the banal.

The phenomenal vocals roam the scale from Bathory's Quorthon, to Ulver's Garm to Urfaust's Willem, both in color and pitch; at times Mr. Thiele maneuvers between all three and at other times he sounds as if all three aforementioned vocalists have been fused into one; a single, singular entity of awe and inspiration, offering a paradigm shift from the obvious and the familiar. Mr. Thiele adds some harsh vocals here and there, but they are almost inconsequential in the face of his clean performance, and even then he rapidly alternates between the two, allowing the stark vocal extremes to echo with a staggering, reverberating beauty.

'To Take Up the Cross' is devoid of any weaknesses as far as the eye can see and the ear can hear. It is a rare album that manages to express so much depth, emotion and beauty using only the basic instruments (hardly any synths or other orchestral tools were used in the recording); an undisputed manifesto to the volumes of creativity of the human mind and the virtually endless capacities of what could be created within the 'Metal' framework. This album, similarly to the description of its nature mentioned by the label - is a genuine paradigm shift from anything the metal underground has granted us with, and yet it still sounds as metal as fuck.

'To Take Up the Cross' is easily one of 2014's highlights, and as such is highly recommended to anyone with enough gray matter between one's ears who could appreciate good music when it crosses one's path.

Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.

Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. To Take Up The Cross When Through It You Can Win A Kingdom
2. To Cast A Spot Upon The Death Of Your Death
3. To Walk At The Hands Of A Dial
4. To Reap The Flame With Fingers And A Tongue
5. To Tread On Loose Boardwalks
6. To Restore The Pride To Petravore
7. To March Along The Desolate Peripheries Of Mind

Duration : Approx. 48 minutes

Visit the Latitude Egress bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-01-16 by Chaim Drishner
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com