The Living Fields - Running Out of Daylight
Doom Metal
8 songs (61:06)
Release year: 2011
Reviewed by Jaime
When it comes to doom bands I must admit my preference has always been firmly rooted to the European side of things. The few American doom bands that I actively listen to, November's Doom and Daylight Dies, borrow more than a little from the European sound, especially the latter. So enter The Living Fields. Chances are that the mention of violins in doom metal will cause one specific band to spring to mind, but the trademark My Dying Bride gloom isn't what's on show here. The faintly Irish influenced Remnant acts as a microcosm of the entire album, with little strains of everything else that takes place being blended together and fired out first. For the most part it highlights the band's better parts such as the use of the string sections, those grand choruses and the fact that the band have their own slightly rough, bleak but not wrist-slashing mood that prevails over everything. Naturally, some of the album's low points are here too, which are mostly vocal based. There are a number of different vocal styles going on and some sound better than others. The high screams are like nails across a blackboard, and the spoken word parts is a little cheesy, but they are thankfully sparse this time round and don't get in the way of what is a great little opener.

Sadly, a low point pops up straight after. Perseverance contains heavy use of those vocals that I have a distaste for, and while the strings and brass are a nice touch the intro sounds like something Turisas would balk at for fear of being run through a cheese grater. The slower, quiet sections doesn't really work either in my opinion, the rough guitars and clean vocals don't lend themselves well to the feeling that you'd both expect and want, regardless of how hard the violins try to make up for it. Another thing, a nine minute song using a simple ABABA form is an instant attention killer. From Miseries to Blood doesn't fare all that better, the intro is a little cringe worthy and the sequence from it is repeated throughout the song. When the whole band comes in things get a bit better, but sadly the quiet section causes things to tail off a little before something that's straight out of an 80's thrash band appears right after it. It's not pleasant, and ruins the atmosphere that they were beginning to form and try to salvage for the outro. Again, at over nine minutes this song just drags in.

Thankfully there's When The Walls Go Up, an acoustic track that drops in some additional folk influences. The harmonised clean vocals are used really well and it help break up the longer tracks, with Bitterness being another one that hits the nine minute mark. But unlike its brethren this one does not outstay its welcome. Taking some of the acoustic strains from the previous track for the verse works nicely, and the slightly bouncier and heavier choruses contrast in a better fashion than the other two. That, and the fact that they occasionally drop in an extra section instead of just repeating themselves shows that the band can do longer songs with some degree of competency. The highlight of the album comes in the form of Glacial Movements, which despite its name is fairly up-tempo. It’s a suitably epic track that swaggers along and manages to carry you with it. It’s what the album needed after those three long tracks to shake off any dust that may have settled on you if you dozed off. The title track rounds off the album. Running Out of Daylight clocks in at over 16 minutes. It sort of goes through the motions, but the clean breaks are superb. Hell if the band stuck more of that in I’d be rather happy. But I suppose that goes against doom...

A slightly flawed album then. It starts very well and finishes just under that, but in between is a bit of a mix. Part of the problem may be that the band’s production and sound doesn’t really lend itself well to moody atmospherics, and when they try them they sometimes fall flat. Otherwise it’s not bad, worth checking out if nothing else.
Killing Songs :
Remnant, When The Walls Go Up, Glacial Movements
Jaime quoted 78 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Wed Sep 28, 2011 8:27 am
View and Post comments