Wednesday, 14 December 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: Conclave - "Sins of the Elders"

By: Brandon Green

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/06/2016
Label: Patac Records |
Lost Apparitions




Overall, Conclave are a band you should absolutely pay attention to if you’re a fan of the stoner doom genre and love bands in the riff worship category. They bring a refreshed approach using melodic/harmonized guitars, reverb soaked leads, soaring yet aggressive vocals, and highly energized drumming. Conclave paced this release very well, and I frequently found myself having riffs stuck in my head long after listening


“Sins of the Elders” CD//CS//DD track  listing:

1). (Intro) Descend
2). Funeral Fyre
3). Black Lines
4). Cut it off
5). Mammut
6). Cold Comfort
7). Sins of the Elders
8). Kaltas (Outro)


The Review:

In a world where it seems stoner doom is king; Conclave pull off their best work to date with an anger-soaked massive riff machine. I was lucky enough to see Conclave live in Boston a few times, and they were overwhelming with their stage presence, masterful song crafting, and beastly amp setup. It’s rare that a band captures their live sound on a record, and Conclave have totally nailed with this. With each song clocking in around 7-9 minutes, this is a doom release begging to be cranked. The album invokes visions of punishment, despair, hopelessness as you wander through the tomb-like atmosphere this album creates.

“Sins of the Elders” starts off with “Descend” which sets the mood using rain samples, reverb/delay drenched clean guitars, and spoken word before tossing the listener into a dark well full of pummeling riffs. “Funeral Fyre” is loaded with powerful hits and soaring growled vocals, layered with massive sounding distortion/fuzz. Jerry’s vocals really shine on this release, giving a melodic feel to the angry shouting style seen in stoner doom. His vocals remind me of the style seen from Tom Fischer in Triptykon’s releases. It’s clear the band has a fantastic handle on the genre and introduces their own spin with more variation, catchy riffs, melodies, and killer guitar solos reminiscent of 90s era death metal.

The third track, “Black Lines,” hones in on the more stoner doom sound of the band and builds up with crushing riffs and amazing drumwork. Dan Blomquist is a fantastic drummer, and the highly creative drum riffs follow the guitar work and add an entirely new amazing layer to the song writing on this entire album. “Cut it Off” immediately reminded me of early Crowbar with the slow tempo drums and a darker more progressive approach to the Sabbath riff style. When the chorus comes into the first solo, this song quickly became one of the highlights of the album for me.

Aethereum” stood out to me with the low spoken word vocals over the crushing doom riffs and syncopated drums. The reverb/delay drenched leads in this song make it sound particularly evil mixed with the spoken vocal style. The alternating solos on the song were a welcome addition, and showcase that Conclave are far more than your run-of-the-mill stoner doom band. I loved this vocal approach so much that I wish it was peppered into some of the other songs. “Cold Comfort” grabs the listener in anticipation with guitar feedback and overdrive bass/drums to build atmosphere before the band crushes the listener with what they do best.

The title track, “Sins of the Elders,” was my favorite of the entire release with a down-tuned melodic Iron Maiden inspired riff which invokes feelings similar to the killer album artwork. The guitar harmonies sound great and really showcase the chemistry of the band. The harsh backing vocals in this song and double bass bring a welcomed dynamic to the band’s sound. The final song, “Kaltas” brings a calming atmosphere similar to how the album started using a reverb-laced acoustic guitar and subtle cymbal hits. An excellent closer giving the listener the feeling they completed a journey back to familiar territory and conquered the welcomed horrors in the depths of “Sins of the Elders”.

Overall, Conclave are a band you should absolutely pay attention to if you’re a fan of the stoner doom genre and love bands in the riff worship category. They bring a refreshed approach using melodic/harmonized guitars, reverb soaked leads, soaring yet aggressive vocals, and highly energized drumming. Conclave paced this release very well, and I frequently found myself having riffs stuck in my head long after listening. For $10 on bandcamp, you get master-crafted doom with a full 6 panel digipak with amazing artwork completely reminiscent of how the record sounds. Throw on some headphones, and descend into the bleak punishing atmosphere of “Sins of the Elders.” I highly recommend it.

Sins of the Elders” is available here


Band info: bandcamp

FFO: Tryptikon, Crowbar, Electric Wizard, Windhand, (early) The Sword

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