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Luna : Solitude Vaults: 13 Years Of Doom (Split Compilation)

A decent compilation of recent previously digital-only releases, the latest Solitude Vaults offering is worth a listen.

I wonder if Solitude Productions ever actually stops? Honestly, whether it's good or bad music, the Russians never stop grinding away with new Doom releases so props to them for that.

'13 Years Of Doom' is a release in the occasional "Vaults" anniversary series, collecting the recent digitally-released EPs of Postmortal, Sorrowful Land, Fvneral Fvkk, and Luna together on CD. There is a whole segment on another part of the site on Fvneral Fvkk so I won't go into as much detail on them as with the others because Mike has already done a sterling job there. Simply put, Postmortal is supposed to play Funeral Doom, Sorrowful Land is supposed to play Death/Doom, Fvneral Fvkk is supposed to play Epic Doom, and Luna is supposed to play a Funeral/Death/Doom hybrid.

Let's take a look at Postmortal's three tracks first, shall we? I can confirm that this is indeed a Funeral Doom band, first and foremost. I'll never have a problem with Funeral Doom in the abstract because it's one of my favourite sub-genres in Doom Metal. However, the word that comes to mind with Postmortal is "unremarkable". The guitar hook throughout the majority of 'Elusion', for example, is more annoying than it is captivating. Hooks are your bread and butter in Funeral Doom so that going wrong is not a great start. It actually overshadowed what was a good diSEMBOWELMENT-esque end to the track too.

Unfortunately, that 'trend' of Postmortal's continued with more annoying hooks following. To me, it simply felt like the guitar-work didn't fit the style of play. Vocally, I thought they were excellent, and I couldn't fault the production either. It's almost as if they had to get a session guitarist in that was used to playing a whole different genre. The problem with the hooks not aligning with the songs is that it makes the music sound very bland and uninteresting. The reality is that this band is not far away from being a good listen but something's got to give way; they cannot hope to be successful in Funeral Doom with a lack of cohesion as is present on all three tracks here.

When it comes to Sorrowful Land's three tracks, I must confess that I was a little disappointed. At least with Postmortal I could see what the intention was; it just wasn't executed as well as I'd have liked. With Sorrowful Land, I found it a bit too My Dying Bride for my liking. That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you - I'm a huge fan of My Dying Bride's pre-2000 work - but there's being influenced by a band and then there's copying and this band leans more toward the latter than the former.

I don't mean that Sorrowful Land has copied a specific song or set of songs, note by note. They've simply stood on the shoulders of one of England's greatest Doom bands with their tracks here, frequently attempting to rely upon the vocalist's more emotional approach to steer the music, which he's not powerful enough to do. The pace of the tracks, the style of the tracks, and the attempted atmosphere generation all reeks of My Dying Bride but it's not been done well enough for me to consider it a success. I really don't mind bands taking good ideas and making them their own but this band just hasn't succeeded with their approach, in my opinion. I can't fault the production whatsoever but the track layouts do very little for me.

To capture a more 'emotional' side of Death/Doom, I think you need a more emotive instrument at some stage i.e. violin, piano, which Sorrowful Land doesn't utilise often enough. A good example is the differential between the first two tracks. I thought 'As I Behold Them Once Again' was seriously lacking on that front but 'Where The Sullen Waters Flow' was a marked improvement with their use of piano, although ironically they've strayed away from their usual song structure in order to accommodate the piano.

My view is that Sorrowful Land either needs to up the tempo and lose the more sentimental feel to their music or needs to keep the tracks as they are and add a more emotional instrument throughout rather than merely as an intro/outro tool. Whilst the band lingers between the two approaches, I cannot say it's something that I enjoy listening to in spite of the good production. It's a shame, though - much like Postmortal, they're really not far away from making good Doom Metal.

When it comes to Fvneral Fvkk, my views on this band don't really differ from Mike's in the review linked above. The band name cheapens what is essentially some decent Epic Doom, not that this sub-genre is really my cup of tea. There's nothing that bothers me about the music, per se. There are plenty of powerful, plodding riffs, well-performed clean vocals, and the production is good too. It's just not something I'd find myself listening to very often and, much like Mike, I find it very confusing to know if this is a serious or a joke band because of the odd band name.

Lastly, we have Luna's single offering, which was probably my favourite on the album as a whole. I thought that the somewhat operatic introduction was very haunting, and it set the tone rather well. The approach from Luna felt very commanding and measured, deliberately engineering a powerful atmosphere. The only thing that bothered me was that the track never really went anywhere. It was very dramatic and captivating but there was no song after it to get stuck into. It has to go down as some kind of prolonged intro/outro track, good though it unquestionably was. The drumming annoyed me because it sounded a little too plastic for my liking but I thought the track was well composed and intriguing. I'd like to hear more of what the band can offer, based on 'Ceremony'.

Overall, this was a decent listen from Solitude Productions. Not something I'd move mountains to get hold of but something to give a spin if the opportunity comes your way.

Rating by band: Postmortal - 5.5/10, Sorrowful Land - 6/10, Fvneral Fvkk - 7/10, Luna - 7.5/10

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Reviewer's rating: 6.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Elusion
2. Nighttime Serenity
3. Seven
Sorrowful Land:
4. As I Behold Them Once Again
5. Where The Sullen Waters Flow
6. The Night Is Darkening Around Me
Fvneral Fvkk:
7. Erection In The House Of God
8. Underneath The Phelonion
9. Fvkking At Fvnerals
Luna - Ceremony

Visit the Postmortal bandpage.

Visit the Sorrowful Land bandpage.

Visit the Fvneral Fvkk bandpage.

Duration : Approx. 80 minutes

Visit the Luna bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-06-11 by Ian Morrissey
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