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Cross Vault : The All-Consuming

Gloomy rather than doomy, and with vocals you'll love or hate, Cross Vault's sophomore is likely to divide opinion.

Cross Vault is a German duo whose style of Doom is rare but not unknown. It has kinship with outfits like American Doomsters Pallbearer (Spartan songwriting approach and molasses-in-winter tempos), and Swedish Occult Rockers Witchcraft's stripped-down production with clean guitar tones and vocals... But actually Cross Vault is it's own type of creature.

I had not heard this band before and decided to sample their first outing, last years 'Spectres of Revocable Loss', and found it a bit lacking but not without mild charm. I had hoped that their second LP would be stronger... But my hopes were quickly dashed upon the cold, unyielding rocks of disappointment's unwelcoming shore.

This album, dear reader, is not my (weak and tepid) cup of tea, and I would be hard pressed to even include it under Doom's wide and mighty banner. While, yes, it does contain some of the superficial sonic elements of Doom, primarily the yawn inducing pace, and gloomy lyrics (which may be the album's strongest characteristic) but that's it. The musicianship is perfunctory and banal, and the singing... Dear Lord, the singing... is almost unbearable. The vocalist 'N' seems heavily influenced by the '80s New Romantic sub-genre of New Wave. It's a crooning baritone that could be mistaken for a The Call/Simple Minds/Big Country tribute band. It's as if Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry swallowed a bunch of barbiturates and tried his glitter-encrusted hand at Metal.

Cross Vault's 'The All-Consuming' at its best is introspective and sorrowful, and at its worst, insipid and mundane. I can only really recommend this to depressive 14 year old girls who don't yet savor the gravitas of Sylvia Plath, but who insist on an all-black wardrobe and think that The Cure are too peppy.

This musical denomination that we all admire is termed 'Doom Metal' not 'Melancholic Metal'. It's with that in mind I can only say advance with warning, and maybe a double espresso.

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Reviewer's rating: 4/10


Tracklist :
1. Revocable Loss
2. Simple Marksman in the Pine
3. Amber Nights
4. The All-Consuming
5. The Words That Pierce No Soul

Duration : Approx. 43 minutes

Visit the Cross Vault bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-01-04 by Kevin Baird
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