SOON - Vol. 1
Temple of Torturous
Atmospheric Doom / Stoner
8 songs (35'17")
Release year: 2016
Temple of Torturous
Reviewed by Alex

I often appreciate Temple of Torturous releases for extending the outreaches of various extreme metal branches beyond strict confines of the genres. With SOON, I understand, the story is slightly different. An indie rock group of musicians (The Love Language from Raleigh, NC) otherwise not associated with extreme music has decided to try its collective hand at some variations of doom. Being that what drives Stuart McLamb & Co is not an interminable desire to drown everything in sorrow Vol. 1 takes then on an interesting angle where doom can actually be construed as bringing hope to the existence. At least that is how I was able to comprehend some of the Vol. 1 compositions.

For example, Datura Stramonium is a combination of shimmering metallic clangs, beckoning melody and bouncy bubbly bass, all merging into what I can describe as nerdy doom or sludge lite. The opener We Are on Your Side, a signature track, probably speaks to SOON doom brightness best when it introduces desert rock-like Americana and a screaming guitar solo towards the end. Glass Hours is very much non-linear percussive, smoothed over on occasion as if you are trying to lay flat that unruly lick of hair. Gold Soul allows Stuart to demonstrate an undeniable charisma of his voice, singing alongside Lake of Tears circa Forever Autumn-like melody.

Yet, I have to be honest with myself and say that Vol. 1 did not have me entirely bowed and on my knees, like some other ToT releases. Whenever SOON felt that they had to be faithful to doom and play by the rules, it would sound as if they tried too hard. Making sure the bottom end date of We Are on Your Side is heavy provides an extra drag on the song, and distortion distracts from airiness in the second half and of Gold Soul. When the acoustics are detuned (like in the first half of We Are on Your Side again) I do not care much for the melody. SOON is just so much better when the band plays either shorter grumbling rock on Burning Wood or See You Soon (a standout track), sounding like a version of latter day dirtier Cemetery, or instead goes for a full on observant, powerful acoustically strummed Mauveine which also introduces a violin sound. Certainly, the drone noise frequency testing joined by the monk-like choral background on Rise, following the hopeful Datura Stramonium, seemed entirely out of place. With a sweet and slightly detached voice of Stuart, stoner rocking compositions like Burning Wood and See You Soon or the dreaminess of Gold Soul and Mauveine are the best fit for SOON, whatever the type of doom they are trying to play. This is, of course, a one man's opinion, so maybe for others, especially those seeking diversity, Vol. 1 will play a more convincing role. For me the album proved almost too broadly reaching, too eclectic, to have a uniformly strong appeal from start to finish.

Killing Songs :
See You Soon, Gold Soul, Mauveine
Alex quoted 69 / 100
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