Painful Memories - Memorial to Suffering
Solitude Productions
6 songs (51'30")
Release year: 2006
Painful Memories, Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Adam
It is not often as reviewers that we get a promo for an album by a band that has long since broken up. Generally we receive albums by bands just starting out and looking to make a name for themselves. Quite the opposite this week, as I tackle Memorial to Suffering, the one and only album by Russian doomers Painful Memories, who ceased existence as a band in 1998. Originally self-released as a cassette demo in 1996, their debut album has been given new life by up and coming Russian doom label Solitude Productions, a full ten years after its initial release.

Painful Memories play a romanticized version of doomdeath with more of an emphasis on soaring guitar lines than most listeners of the genre are used to. Knowing that this album is a demo re-release, I went in willing to concede the shortcomings of a typical demo. Good thing I did, because they are mostly present and accounted for. The finest point on the album is the production, which sounds surprisingly polished while keeping the rawness that was surely present on the original cassette. The vocals of Dmitry Serkin come in the form of a LOW, piercing death growl that is generally unremarkable. There are, however, flashes of brilliance by Serkin. One drawn out yelp on In My Tomb sent a chill through my body. Sadly, the guitars share the scarcity of these types of moments as well. The twin attack of Michael Gorbachev (that’s really his name) and Konstantin Drabkin just doesn’t work for me. One guitar is generally laying down a chunky foundation, while the other is playing a melodious lead. The downfall is that, to my ears, the lead just seems to meander forward while never really going anywhere, at least musically speaking. Plus, it is so overpowering that it often renders the other musicians to being background noise. Even when it seems like the band is going in a different direction, such as the traditional metal sound which starts The Weeping of Unborn Children, they quickly revert back to the same lead guitar overload which plagues the album. Speaking of that song, there is a really nice breakdown around the 2:30 point that I feel I should mention, led by a haunting dual guitar harmony and some of the finest drumming on the album. Unfortunately, this moment is quickly ushered away, and the song reverts back to its old tricks again. Strictly speaking, there are bright spots, but the only song that maintains its positive qualities throughout is Why?, which is led by a chilling and catchy guitar line.

I went into this album expecting poor production, which, save for the shrieking lead guitar, I did not get. For that, I give Solitude Productions credit. However, the sound Painful Memories protrudes on Memorial to Suffering is one of severe familiarity. Usually I do not fault an album’s tracks for sharing many similarities, but each of these songs share the band’s worst qualities. Fans of early My Dying Bride may want to give this album a chance, as it may strike them differently than it does me. I can appreciate the effect that I assume this album must have had in its heyday on the Russian metal scene, specifically the founders of Solitude Productions, but the positive impressions it left on me were few and far between.
Killing Songs :
Adam quoted 45 / 100
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