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Pendulous : A Palpable Sense of Love and Loss

An exemplary debut full-length of depression-soaked modern Doom from Pendulous.

After having released an elusive EP entitled 'Mirrored Confessions' a couple of years ago, Pendulous have now risen up to bring forth their first full-length album, 'A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss'. Coming out of the United States, a land in which the Doom Metal tends to be on the sludgier and more psychedelic side, the band creates something that is a bit more morose and lovelorn rather than droning and relentlessly heavy.

Without hesitation, I can say this album is a slice of Doom/Death Metal in its barest and purest form. It's not the take on the style that is laden with romance and beauty, or the more extreme kind that is loaded with brutality and pure aggression. Each track is a dirge of loss and regret, perpetuated with a monochrome atmosphere that makes you feel as if you have been backed into a corner by your personal demons.

The intro of the album, 'Shame', consists of a nihilistic dialogue that sounds as if it were the confessions of a man at the brink of insanity, lamenting over an unsettling backdrop of clean guitars and cello. In no time, 'A Faltering Will' flourishes inwards with anthem-like guitars and vocals that alternate between anguished growls and crooned clean singing. Vocalist E.R.M. has a soothing tone that is vaguely reminiscent of Nick Cave, which I find to be very suiting in contrast to his weeping, emotional grunts.

One aspect of the music that I find to be particularly well-done is how, in spite of creating such a depraved and mournful atmosphere, Pendulous also pulls off some very melodic and even somewhat pleasant chord progressions along the way. For example, the main melody of fifth track 'Hibernal Sun' is incredibly addictive and climactic and, when combined with the heart-wrenching clean vocals, has a majestic elegance that doesn't stray far from something My Dying Bride would have written during their 'The Angel and the Dark River' era. Yet, instead of a lush Goth-drenched ambience, the sound is injected with a much rawer, more stripped down sounding kind of Traditional Doom that perhaps places the band in a camp closer to the likes of Mourning Beloveth and Warning.

Then, out of the mire of resigned, downtrodden riffs, some aggressive up-tempo sections churn out to pummel the listener. A good example of such a rise exists in third track, '40 Years', which is my personal favorite out of the album. This epic monster kicks off with some pure Death Metal riffage and highly reverbed melodic cleans, which make for a refreshing combination that isn't utilized in extreme metal nearly as often as it should be. As the tempo settles down, the listener is brought to an atmospheric clean guitar interlude, which will lull you with a soothing drift that alternates with the abrasive plodding riffs and retching growls that follow. This quiet interlude in particular is a standout point in the album for me, for it reaches a specific kind of hopelessness that, when combined with the breaking voice of desperation, truly embodies the raw emotion of Doom.

'A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss' is an album that one will want to listen to when one feels deep in thought, or has a quiet night to themselves. The lyrics themselves are extremely personal, which will allow the listener to connect with the narrator of the songs, as they hear him vocalize his deepest regrets and inner demons. Laced with a tasteful array of pianos and cellos, this is altogether a sophisticated and mature piece of straightforward Doom/Death Metal, lacking any frills or unnecessary bombast. It's sad, raw, and harsh, yet also melodic and refined as well. The influences of the band are never exaggerated or bear too much mark on the music, allowing the musicians to shine on their own and perpetuate a sound that doesn't need to give credit to anybody but themselves. Yet, at the same time, some may find that the album could lie close to the likes of the aforementioned Mourning Beloveth, and perhaps the more dissonant Loss, which are reasonable comparisons. Generally, I would recommend this album to those looking for an exemplary piece of modern Doom that is soaked in depression and never lets up on its utterly jaded atmosphere.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Shame
2. A Faltering Will
3. 40 Years
4. Pendant World
5. Hibernal Sun
6. Closure
7. Memoirs

Duration : Approx. 60 minutes

Visit the Pendulous bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-07-22 by Dante DuVall
Thermal Mass
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