Finn Timo Solonen – the driving force behind newish doom-death expositors Infirmum – has hit on a rather good formula with Walls of Sorrow.
Whilst the band is, unequivocally, operating within the doom-death arena, Solonen, who wrote all the songs (with assistance on arrangements from drummer Julius Lehtonen and Samu Oittinen, who recorded and mixed the album) sings and plays guitar too, has imbued each track with melody to such an extent that, gruff, semi-whispered vocals aside, you’d often have no idea you were listening to death metal at all.
Silence is pre-electronica Paradise Lost without the hobnail-booted misery, grandiose and dripping with pride, but there’s something almost otherworldly about the sound of this record that stops it from sounding merely like the work of a tribute act. Infirmum have emerged, on their debut full-length, fully formed and with their own sound which, although tipping it’s hat to the existing and well-established Gods of the genre, never actually sounds like it’s barefacedly stealing from any of them. That’s quite a hard trick to pull it off, but pull it off they have.
Consequently I think you’ll have a ball with the snails-pace doom of, erm, Doomed; Eastern-tinged lead guitars circle a classic Candlemass-styled riff, Lehtonen’s clever drum work underpinning it all and giving it the foundation it need to stop itself from collapsing under it’s own weight. ‘You are doomed!’ croaks our hero at the songs end, and I have to admit I am – doomed to be playing this song a lot over the coming weeks and months!
Wake Me is absolutely epic, that mix of lead and rhythm guitar again hitting paydirt early on, with Solonen’s angry Gollum slither of a voice only adding to the song’s sinister force and stygian feel. He’s added a female vocalist to the band’s number for subsequent work, and I have to say that I’m a bit worried about that as his underworld drawl is one of the things that reinforces Infirmum’s unique appeal in an already-saturated market. Add to that the ear for melody apparent almost everywhere and you get a the sort of terrible beauty that John Milton would have been proud of (that’s enough Paradise Lost allusions – Ed). Only time will tell.
Anyways, that’s a debate for the future. For the now, make sure you get this onto the top of your Christmas list if you’re a fan of classy, well executed doom/death.
Walls of Sorrow releases on December 18th.