Counting Hours - The Will
The Vinyl Division
Dark Depressive Metal
9 songs (48'11")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

Counting Hours is made up of such veterans from Finnish metal scene like Jarno Salomaa, Tomi Ullgren and Ilpo Paasela who played in bands ranging from Shape of Despair to Rapture to Impaled Nazarene to The Chant. So basically anything from funeral doom to melodic doom death to blackened thrash is covered. Counting Hours is this collective’s foray into the realms of dark depressive metal. What I don’t quite understand while doing my research on The Will is whether some of this music was written way back in the late 90s and only saw the light of day on a demo a few years ago. If true, this means The Will (or some parts of it) sat on the shelf for 20 years, but its sound is contemporaneous with the depressive metal greats like Katatonia, Paradise Lost and October Tide.

In fact, as soon as serenity sets on the opening title track after rain and thunder fade away, Counting Hours launch into immediately recognizable Katatonia style riffing. Clean, incessant, relentless, mournful, this guitar sound is unmistakable. Songs like Profound, some parts of To Exit All False, Saviour or Our Triumph could have come from a lost Katatonia album somewhere between Discouraged Ones and Tonight’s Decision. The gloom on The Will reigns just the same, but instead of Katatonia’s clean moaning, vocals on the album progress from mostly clean to harsher to a few screams here and there. The Will never really shifts into melodic deathdoom territory with heaviness or tempo, but the whole affair feels denser than the Swedes I keep comparing Counting Hours to. Cold open of Buried in the White can indeed be a piece from Last Fair Deal Gone Down, but developing murkiness adds another level of rolling grief. Saviour progresses from circular steady riffing to syncopated section later with profound clean detached singing narrating grief yet again. And the hit Blank Sunrise enjoys its own unique vocal hollering and rhythmic structure, while Atonement keeps hammering home the message enlisting double bass to help out.

The references to The Will are obvious and deserved. This doesn’t mean that Counting Hours are simple copycats, especially if my hypothesis of how long ago the album was created is correct. Even if The Will took full shape in recent times, the album adds both a subtle level of deathliness on its Katatonia-like riffs, but also is very adept with quiet longing and dissolution, as in Among the Pines We’ll Die where liquefying eternity is two sides to the booming middle. Atonement is another heavier track where a soft plateau is hit midway through the composition.

The album served as a perfect accompaniment to the unseasonably mild October days, and caused me to go back and enjoy Discouraged Ones, Tonight’s Decision and Last Fair Deal Gone Down after not revisiting them for quite a few years.

Killing Songs :
Saviour, Blank Sunrise, Buried in the White
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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