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Graveyard Of Souls : Mental Landscapes

A fine concoction of instrumental Atmospheric Doom from Spaniards Graveyard Of Souls.

Spanish Atmospheric Death-Doom outfit Graveyard Of Souls are nothing if not prolific; 'Mental Landscapes' representing their fifth full length release since their 2013 debut, 'Shadows of Life'. A pretty respectable output by any standards. Fortunately, though, quality is not sacrificed for quantity. Entirely instrumental, it's an album that creates powerful soundscapes of atmospheric Death-Doom without the aid of vocal accompaniment. It takes equal amounts of chutzpah and talent to successfully pull off an instrumental album, but Graveyard Of Souls have demonstrated they have plenty of both.

Opener, 'Cloud Fields' sets the atmosphere with melodic synth effects and a haunting arpeggiated acoustic riff that creates a subtle, Floydian feel, before a mid tempo Doom riff kicks in and takes the track into heavier territory. There's an infectious, melancholy groove to the music that is hard to resist, ensuring the listener soon stops wondering when the vocals are going to kick in and appreciates the vast sonic vista Graveyard Of Souls have created.

And the opening track is no fluke. Throughout the album, the power and menacing fury of Death-Doom is caressed by slower, more progressive interludes, while synths add further depth. It's a winning formula that is used with aplomb, ensuring there is no filler on the album. It's a brave move to keep an entire album instrumental; a move that arguably exposes the quality of the music to a greater than normal degree of scrutiny. There's nowhere to hide; no big, bellowing roar to drown out any weaknesses, no sorrowful lyrics to pull on the emotions. And without doubt, Graveyard Of Souls have enough in the locker room to deliver.

There's a nice variety and balance to the album with elements of Space Rock on the excellent 'En la oscuridad esta nuestro hogar' with its swirling, trippy synth effects complimenting the brooding energy of a monstrous Death-Doom riff, whilst even amongst the atmospheric feel of much of 'Mental Landscapes', it's no soft touch: there is no shortage of venom on the album. 'Way of Hell', for instance, is an aptly named assault on the senses. With a crushing riff, frenetic drumming, and some impressively wild soloing, it builds to a raging crescendo that shows that Graveyard Of Souls can create a subtle, atmospheric sound, but certainly have plenty of fire in their bellies.

Overall, this prolific outfit has delivered a fine concoction of instrumental Death-Doom that is varied and brimming with sorrowful atmosphere that has a certain grandeur to it. And the good news is, based on recent output, it might not be too long before we have another album to enjoy. It may not satisfy the demands of fans of the heavier end of the Doom spectrum, but if you like your Doom laden with atmosphere, 'Mental Landscapes' certainly delivers.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Cloud Fields
2. En La Oscuridad Esta Nuestro Hogar
3. The Last Dawn Of Mankind
4. Ou Sont Passes Ces Jour
5. Eclipse
6. Way Of Hell
7. Floating In The Amniotic Eden
8. Farvel

Duration : Approx. 48 minutes

Visit the Graveyard Of Souls bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-03-30 by Nick Harkins
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