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Procession : Doom Decimation

Chilean/European Epic band Procession rock out in style on their third full-length: one of 2017's finest albums.

I spent some time with Procession back in 2014, while I was driving the Esoteric van on a shared European/Baltics tour - a handy opportunity to become acquainted both their exemplary live showmanship and their work-, play- and party-hard attitude. A very likeable bunch of guys, who enjoyed opening the shows: after getting the audience hot and sweaty, they'd gather up the merch takings and disappear off to spend it in the local fleshpots, returning in the small hours of the morning. Livin' the rock'n'roll dream - respect!

And, it must be said, that I watched them more-or-less every night for nearly three weeks solid, and never got bored with the vibrancy of the shows. That energy has also translated well into a healthy back catalogue - including a couple of full-lengths - which capture their added-Metal take on the Candlemass/Solitude Aeternus Epic vein very effectively.

'Doom Decimation', following on from 2013's well-received 'To Reap Heavens Apart', doesn't really do anything to break that particular mould, but it does file off some of the few remaining rough edges. A slightly quieter, tighter production retains instrumental separation and distinctness, but ties the whole soundscape together into a warmer and more complementary package. Main man Felipe Plaza's vocals - always a focal point for the band's evocative material - have done nothing but improve over the years, and here they show yet another subtle step forward. That's partly down to the more frequent faster deliveries spread across the album; although there are still moments demonstrating typically Epic power and sustain, they're blended in with punchier sections.

Behind that, the band are on fine form, cranking out endless catchy leads and riffs over a solid percussion backbone: there's rarely a static moment to be found as the tracks unfold. According to the press release, the album was intended to be as "old-fashioned" as possible in approach, and it certainly feels like it, with an absolutely classic early Heavy Metal vibe infusing the dynamic presentation. The band went to Chile to record it, respecting their roots (though Felipe now lives in Sweden, bassist Claudio is still resident there). I've seen Felipe quoted as saying 'Doom Decimation' was an easy album to write, flowing naturally, and it certainly sounds that way, rocking along with an easy, almost effortless-sounding, grace.

Though a lot of the tracks do rip along at a fair pace, Procession do drop the tempo to a more obviously Doom standard frequently enough for the variety to be one of the strong points of the album, particularly if you like to venture into other territories than the super-slow. Perhaps, if you prefer the more Candlemass-styled side of their works, 'To Reap Heavens Apart' has a slight edge, other than that I'd struggle to find anywhere that 'Doom Decimation' doesn't offer just that little bit extra over its predecessor. Not by much, though: as a back-to-back brace of contemporary yet pure Doom releases, they're about as good as it gets. And it's nice to know that the people behind it are as genuine as the music they're producing, and still out there enjoying themselves rocking on. More than thoroughly recommended: this is one of 2017's essential purchases.

Note: A shorter version of this review was originally published in print format in FIRE Magazine Issue 7, Autumn 2017.

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Reviewer's rating: 9.5/10


Tracklist :
1. The Warning
2. When Doomsday Has Come
3. Lonely Are The Ways Of Stranger
4. Amidst The Bowels Of Earth
5. Democide
6. All Descending Suns
7. As They Reached The Womb
8. One By One They Died

Duration : Approx. 45 minutes

Visit the Procession bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-02-20 by Mike Liassides
Rotten Copper
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