Wednesday, 13 July 2016

The Order of Israfel - "Red Robes" (Album Review)

By: Doza Hawes

 
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 27/05/2016
Label: Napalm Records

 

 
 
Titled "Red Robes," their sophomore album is a crushing slab of classic doom. Twin guitar harmonies permeate the arrangements; slow, lumbering beats intermingle with high-energy, uptempo passages; stark vocals deliver creep out lyrics; all in support of their almighty neck breaking riffs.
 
 
“Red Robes” CD//DD//LP track listing:
 
1. Staff In The Sand
2. The Red Robes
3. In Thrall To The Sorceress
4. Swords To The Sky
5. Von Sturmer
6. Fallen Children
7. A Shadow In The Hills
8. The Thirst
 
The Review:
 
2016 has been a tough year for music fans. We've lost too many great musicians and we've seen the end of some truly great bands this year. But-- the Doom genre is still thriving, great music keeps coming out and The Order of Israfel have again delivered us a killer album to keep us going!
 
Titled "Red Robes," their sophomore album is a crushing slab of classic doom. Twin guitar harmonies permeate the arrangements; slow, lumbering beats intermingle with high-energy, uptempo passages; stark vocals deliver creep out lyrics; all in support of their almighty neck breaking riffs.
 
Aside from the great song writing, excellent musicianship, and fresh riffs, what really stands out on this album is the production. The guitars are fuzzy yet articulate, the drums sound like you're sitting in the front row at an intimate venue, and the bass is low and growling. The vocals are stark and sound virtually unaffected. The brutally spartan vocal sound is the perfect match for singer Tom Sutton's unapologetic style. He's not here to show off vocal chops or wow you with vocal gymnastics, his style is more subtle than that, drawing you into a bleak world of doom and destruction, monsters and chaos, not unlike the early Hammer Horror films of the 1960's and 70's. Love it or hate it, he's putting himself out there and not hiding behind any studio magic.
 
Another standout is the wide range of energy and tempo on this record. The songs take their time, building from slower, crushing tempos to upbeat, high energy rock passages in a way that catches you off guard and punches you in the face.
 
I can predict some listeners scratching their heads about the acoustic ballad, "Fallen Children." At first listen, I did, but as I've spun the album a few more times this track has grown on me and it offers a brief break from the riffs before dragging you back in with the upbeat track, "A Shadow in the Hills."
 
With little exception, the songs on "Red Robes" are long. Final track "The Thirst," clocks in at nearly 16 minutes, but these songs need to be long. The band masterfully navigates from passage to passage in a way that, similar to progressive rock, takes the listener along for the ride.
 
"Red Robes," out now on Napalm Records and is available here
 
Band info: facebook

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