Centurions Ghost - The Great Work
I Hate Records
Doom, Heavy Metal
10 songs (48:48)
Release year: 2007
Centurions Ghost, I Hate Records
Reviewed by Goat

It’s rare to be completely bowled over by an album, especially when you’re not expecting much from it. After all, Doom bands from England aren’t exactly thin on the ground, and few reach the heights of genre godfathers Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. So, into the CD player goes the latest gloom-monger CD with the latest deliberately odd cover art, your humble correspondent expecting yet another dull Goth-icky trawl through much-travelled waters. Yet one track into The Great Work, the second album from misery merchants Centurions Ghost, and the epic explosion of slow-motion riffing, Hammond organs and downright pissed-off vocals enthralls. Track after track of quality Metal comes thundering out towards your ears, and all you can do is hold the horns high and headbang helplessly. The simplest way to sum Centurions Ghost up is Entombed meets Cathedral, the power and drive of the former meeting the experimental 70’s mindset of the latter.

Throughout the album, the Metal Meter never drops in the slightest. Whether it’s the purist vinum Sabbathi of zombie-obsessed Let Sleeping Corpses Die, the catchy groove of Only The Strong Can Survive, or the wild soloing that closes Black Hearts Will Break, there’s clearly a wide range of ideas on show. Fortunately the band is skilled enough to incorporate them all into the hard-rockin’ vibe which drives its sound, and it serves to make the individual songs interesting rather than a single album-length statement, which is where many bands fall at the post. Despite that, as you’d expect from the album title this is indeed a worthy piece when looked at as a whole – a great work indeed.

Instrumentally, the band is on top form, especially drummer Gareth’s varied and technical battery. Having formed in 2001, there’s a level of skill on show that puts older bands to shame. Listen to any track for proof, even acoustic interlude Specimen No. 7, consisting of deceptively simple strumming with gradually building background noise, from whistles to cries of pain, all setting the stage perfectly for In Defiance’s massive stomp. This excellent standard of songwriting is what marks better bands out from lesser ones, especially in Doom where (and this is where the hatemail starts flying in…) its denizens are so used to songs taking their sweet time that they lose the art of Knowing What’s Worth It, whether the song that you’re investing ten minutes of your life in will go anywhere or not. Fortunately for Centurions Ghost, the longest song here is I Am God, You Are Denied at just over seven minutes long, and is an excellent track, moving between Proggy melody and distorted force with a mind of its own.

This is Doom of the highest order, the familiar face in the corner of the pub with plenty of smiles for the newcomer, as well as a friendly wink for the old-timer. Centurions Ghost has taken the traditional blueprint and welded a monstrous, slavering beast to it, full of aggression yet with an experienced eye for the moments when the storm isn’t raging. All in all, this is another reason for Doomsters to feel smug, and a more than welcoming entry point for the neophyte to start exploring that magical world. Highly recommended.

Killing Songs :
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Centurions Ghost that we have reviewed:
Centurions Ghost - Blessed and Cursed in Equal Measure reviewed by Charles and quoted 77 / 100
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