Condenados - The Tree of Death
Shadow Kingdom Records
Doom Metal
6 songs (34' 2")
Release year: 2016
Shadow Kingdom Records
Reviewed by Andy

Chilean doomers Condenados's sophomore album starts appropriately on its first track with a haunting organ playing, a voice beginning to chant. It works well for a band heavily focused on occult, epic doom with a lot of Candlemass influence. Many bands have tried this, and it's hard to find an original bone in The Tree of Death's body, but the band performs the pieces with a monotonous finality that puts a special kind of bleakness into the album.

A feeling of grim despair pervades throughout. Of course, part of that's the production, which is rather odd and compressed-sounding, but even when there's more energy on the tunes, they have a dragging, hopeless vibe to them. Paired with the buzzing riffs is the deep and vibrato-filled voice of Fernando Vidal, who operates as both guitarist and frontman, hollow and slightly off-key. That's what keeps the album from its full potential as well, unfortunately; the pace of the songs sometimes gets a bit too slow and grimy, and Vidal has little of the operatic power that masters such as Messiah Marcolin were able to use such effect on a similar background. On the plus side, the band is enthusiastic for their material, and at times the talent in the atmosphere the band can summon up flashes through the often rather uninspiring melodies, such as on Demon's Head, where Vidal's voice gets out of the monotone and gets into shouting territory. Marchosias Oath gets a few decent licks in as well, the instruments succeeding in hitting new depths on some of the heavy chords and coinciding with Vidal's deeper intonations, making for a more epic feel than the album normally manages to create.

The Tree of Death likely won't offer a lot of inspiration other than to serious old-time epic doom purists; Condenados's skill in summoning a minimalist, gloomy atmosphere works against it when it comes to breaking outside the tune to provide a dramatic, heavy riff. Solstice fans, and anyone who liked Candlemass's late-80s albums, are likely to be interested in this one, however.

Bandcamp: https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-tree-of-death

Killing Songs :
Demon's Head, Marchosias Oath
Andy quoted 74 / 100
Other albums by Condenados that we have reviewed:
Condenados - A Painful Journey Into Nihil reviewed by Alex and quoted 74 / 100
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