Capilla Ardiente - The Siege
High Roller Records
Epic Doom Metal
4 songs (45' 56")
Release year: 2019
Reviewed by Andy
Album of the month

A few years ago, the end of Candlemass was prophesied by some reviewers, who immediately looked around for a successor; I heard Isole mentioned, or Procession. Of course, talk like that immediately died away once the doom masters decided to keep going a while longer and bring Johan Langquist back; but let's go with that a minute. What modern doom metal outfit would be able to step into the Goliath-sized footwear of such a band? Back in 2009 I heard the first EP of an obscure band from Chile that seemed like it might someday be a dark-horse claimant for the title of successor. Solve et Coagula, reviewed by my colleague Alex, had the thunder of an early Candlemass album, right down to the now-discarded falsetto screams heard occasionally on Epicus Doomicus Metallus. Ten years later, The Siege showcases a mature band, filled with easy confidence and the talent to sow doom alongside the greatest in their genre.

In fact, some of their antecedents are already great; virtually everyone in the band has come out of a well-regarded Chilean metal band, and three of them come from the better-known Procession. But Capilla Ardiente's sound is more to my taste, containing none of the leaden despair of its cousin. Felipe Plaza Kutzbach has an air of grand bombast in his delivery reminiscent of Doomsword, and indeed, there's a tough core of old-time heavy metal at the heart of The Open Arms, the Open Wounds as he grates out his R's on the lyrics. The riffing is just as grimly determined, the riff-crunching of the bottom end firmly holding up Julio Bórquez's minor-key wailing. Deep, seemingly under the floor of the mix, steady double-kick drumming periodically hammer the choruses home; longtime drummer Francisco Aguirre gets a lot of room to operate in The Siege's mix and obliges with an impressive range of fills to emphasize the heaviness of the rhythm.

The other thing notable about The Siege is its utter lack of introspection. No tearful requiems or other atmospherics virtually demanded by modern doom metal appear on the 45-minute album; each time, Capilla's high-quality musicianship and songwriting unpretentiously turn out a kickass song and the atmosphere takes care of itself. The Spell of Concealment, possibly my favorite track on this album, is the most like their earlier sound, with an instrumental intro that hooks the listener as soon as those first chord-crunches start up, but I'd put the final track as the best in terms of sheer epic breadth of sound. In keeping with their past practices, the band goes for quality over quantity, putting only a few tracks on the album, with the shortest being almost ten minutes in length. Despite this, they go by all too quickly. I was surprised to find I'd already gotten to the end after a listen, but that's what repeat's for.

This may be the best doom album I've heard this year, surpassing the decent-but-uninspiring The Door to Doom. Any fan of traditional doom metal owes it to themselves to listen to this.

Killing Songs :
All kill, but The Spell of Concealment is my favorite
Andy quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Capilla Ardiente that we have reviewed:
Capilla Ardiente - Solve et Coagula reviewed by Alex and quoted 80 / 100
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