Dolorian - When All the Laughter Has Gone
Wounded Love Records
Dark/Gothic Doom
7 songs (54 Mins)
Release year: 1999
Reviewed by Dee
Archive review

As Finland has become synonymous with Funeral Doom, it comes to this reviewer as no surprise that the finnish Dolorian has become associated with the genre. This is a false comparison - the experienced listener will point out that Dolorian rarely let seconds elapse between notes or snare beats, and also that synthy ostinata and double-pedalling are two major funeral faux-pas - which impedes one from appreciating When All the Laughter Has Gone for what it truly is.

The various members of Dolorian participate in multiple side projects, mainly in the dark ambient field, and their experience casts shadows upon their doom work. There is an obvious black metal influence in the mid-range shrieked vocals, which have that Burzum-like quality wherein anger delivers the note but pain sustains its length. Comparisons can also be made to Deinonychus and Bethlehem, among other bands which float somewhere in the void between black, gothic and doom.

This album has a distinct 3/4 mid-pace plod about it, but each of the seven tracks are dynamic and in most cases immediately distinguishable from one another. "Desolated Colours" features a lot of echoing guitar parts with a sound akin to the clean guitar parts of Type O Negative although the bands don't share the same sense of irony. The song also features a delightful slide between chords which can leave the listener momentarily stranded. The following track, "My Weary Eyes", helps thee to get thy bearings as it opens with an extended and comfortably numb clean section which is then repeated through the eight minute track. It's nowhere near as frantic, but Emperor's infamous sound lurks in the depths between neighbouring, echoing notes.

"A Part of Darkness" opens like a calm Vinterriket song, with midi synth hovering over pleasing yet simplistic chord changes. Or perhaps it's the Yamaha fantasy patch from all those years ago. (Try to ignore this musical nerdery.) In truth, this track should have either been combined with the previous one or else moved further into the tracklisting - it is not particularly professional to have such similar songs so close together.

The title track features what would serve as a very good theme for a funeral doom song if it was twice as slow, but as we have it makes for a pleasingly gothic counterpoint to the distorted, shrieked sections; these are becoming rarer as the album progresses. Although it's short, "When All the Laughter Has Gone" is my favourite cut of the album and is a synopsis of Dolorian's ethos.

"Collapsed" continues the fine tradition of playing minor motifs in 3/4 (although some extra beats are slipped in during a subdued, whispered section) and bolstering them against the cold distortion with twinkling synth sounds. Quite an atmospheric piece, and although I haven't registered a single lyric so far I would guess that the theme centres around man's base desires. Perhaps I'm playing the odds here.

"Fields" is a little more lively if short but all in all a rather dismissable little track in between compositions of greater account, the second of which is entitled "With Scorn / Perish" and as suggested by its nomenclature is a combination of two main themes. The more traditional metal fans among you will be pleased to know that this actually features a RIFF; people who favour atmospheric music will be pleased to know that it's not overbearing and rather quite doomy. The midi "ice rain" sound (yes, more nerdery) puts in an appearance towards the end of the song, which despite its length, concludes rather suddenly.

Dolorian walk a fine line between several genres, and such a tightrope act requires balance; as a result of this they have developed a very definite formula from which few deviations occur. Those who wish an album to span many styles and tempos would be rather disappointed with When All the Laughter Has Gone but be rest assured you are not their market - this one indulges darker souls.

Killing Songs :
My Weary Eyes, When All the Laughter Has Gone, Collapsed
Dee quoted 79 / 100
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