My Silent Wake - Damnatio Memoriae
House of Ashes Productions
Progressive Death/Doom
8 songs (54' 55")
Release year: 2015
Reviewed by Andy

My Silent Wake has come a long way from its early days as a My Dying Bride soundalike. The gothic doom has been replaced by a harsher, more crushing sound with the goth firmly given the boot and death influences creeping in. Damnatio Memoriae's an interesting example of how they are evolving their sound, with a combination of heavy, progressive doom riffing and some sonic concepts that give uniqueness to their sound.

The way the music is written runs the whole gamut. The Empty Unknown, for example, is straight doom metal -- slow, agonized vocals that are slightly distorted but for the most part clean resound over slow, deliberate riffs with the spare, harmonic lead keeping pace, and it's almost fourteen minutes long. But along with these we find mid-tempo pieces with harsher vocals, and atonally-chorded strumming with ringing, unfinished ends reminiscent of black metal -- and sometimes of specific bands, for And So It Comes to an End reminds me strongly of a Rotting Christ song in both its structure and in the sorrowful, heavily punctuated riffing. Black Oil is also a rather interesting track. Mixed in with a rather chaotic pile of slow two-guitar soloing (and no chords; the bass handles the rhythm work), vocalist/guitarist Ian Arkley droningly sings the verses cleanly, switching to shouts on the chorus, until the song speeds up partway through to blastbeats, tremolo picking, and growled vocals. It's odd, slow, and menacing all at once.

The moods of the tracks, while always dark, also have some variety to them. The Innocent has a vibe to it of anger and frustration, while the aforementioned The Empty Unknown, a track I like a little more every time I listen to it, has the necessary atmosphere of despair and final resignation that such a song requires. Arkley's growled delivery is slightly breathless when he growls, and his guitar can shriek or whine, wail or roar with rage in response to the mood of the song. It's now rather difficult to place My Silent Wake in a specific genre category, and from the sound of Damnatio Memoriae, that's just what they set out to ensure.

Killing Songs :
Black Oil, And So It Comes to an End, The Empty Unknown
Andy quoted 80 / 100
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