Chalice of Suffering - For You I Die
GS Productions
Melancholic Doom
9 songs (74' 15")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

Minnesotan newcomers Chalice of Suffering promise a funeral doom experience influenced by greats like Evoken or Esoteric -- and certain parts make it a decent debut, if unlikely to be considered "real" funeral doom by purists. Unlike its influences, however, it doesn't really give off a centuries-old sense of oppressive darkness, instead focusing on slow, melancholic melodies featuring spoken-word introspection.

A valiant attempt is made at a funereal atmosphere. Who Will Cry, on its best parts, has the guitar hesitantly picked through an echoing distortion pedal till heavier riffs slam down, with some miserably dragged-out solos over the top in the manner of a Type O Negative song. The problem is, even the heaviest riffs on the album simply aren't crushing enough, because the lower end, especially the bass, seems to have come out the loser during the mixing job, greatly hampering the band's attempts at providing badly-needed oppression. The guitars' melodic contributions, mingled with a keyboard so far in the back of the mix it sounds like someone's playing it in another room. do their level best to make up for the deficiency, and despite their tendency to repeat themselves a little too often, are quite good. The melodic nature of the title track makes it one of the better ones, and the Warning-style guitar riffs on Alone are also a high point.

The low points on the album, which often needlessly ruin the moment, are the vocals. The death-metal rasps are a mixed bag, sometimes sludgy and full, but more often coming across as weak and cracked. The really painful parts, though, are the spoken-word bits, occasionally recited through a distortion filter, with lyrics of the sort that a black-trenchcoat-clad seventh grader might scrawl on the back of his Pee Chee folder. When the clean vocals are junked and the band has the willingness to apply a bit more somber heaviness to their riffs, such as on Void, we get something much better -- the lower-register chorus picking and mosquito-whine of the leads match well to the quiet parts that the echoing footfalls of the main guitar riffs. Unfortunately, the obnoxious clean vocals make their way back in again and again.

Though containing some promise, Chalice of Suffering's missteps on For You I Die, especially on the vocal section, hamstring what could ordinarily be at least an OK doom album. As it is, it's a good try with some bright spots, but ultimately I think an unsuccessful one when it comes to holding the listener's interest.


Killing Songs :
Andy quoted 66 / 100
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