Band: The Sabbathian
Album: Latum Alterum
Label: Svart Records
Genre: Doom Metal
Release Date: January 25th, 2019
Have you ever tried to summon spirits from the otherside so you could talk to them? If you have not, but would like to get started, make sure to listen to The Sabbathian’s debut album “Latum Alterum”. Named after a ritual that is supposed to channel and put you in contact with the other side, the music from this album will take you on a spiritual journey across the otherworldly plane with a dense mixture of doom metal and ethereal vocal melodies. Just as a word of caution before the actual review, don’t listen to this album in the dark with noise cancelling headphones – or do, if you want to be creeped out by the atmosphere.
The album opens up with the mildly unsettling “Requiem”, which will instantly set the tone for the seance that is about to occur, before leading into the thunderous pounding of “The Brightest Light”. Doomy, fuzz laden guitar riffs lead the way forward until vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbransen fully comes in with her beautifully haunting melodies.
Like an invocation being spoken, the candles burn and are suddenly extinguished just as the next song, “Liti Kjersti” (named after a Norwegian folk song about girl being lured into the woods by a spirit) begins with its darker energy. The tone in the instruments remains the same but there is more of a hard rock feel to the energy behind them. In true doom fashion, the guitar and drums act more as a canvas for the song, repeating riffs and ideas in order to let the vocals enrapture the listener.
However, now that we have successfully crossed into the other side, it is time to get to the total trip that is the last 4 songs of the album. “Head of a Traitor” starts with a clean, eerie guitar line before delving into a crushing introduction by the rest of the band as Anette sings “Are you with me”? Singing of ghostly apparitions, Anette does a great job at modulating her vocals going from lower registers to higher ones without pause. It somewhat reminded of me King Diamond’s vocal delivery but used to a different effect. The album continues on to the next song, “One Night of Cruelty” with a driving guitar riff and possibly the best vocal delivery in the whole album, in this case, more reminiscent of the band Heart.
The music just keeps getting better as the introductory chords of “Embrace the Dark” come in. The vocal delivery is now more focused on traditional rock singing rather than the falsetto tones of the earlier songs which help give the music a more dynamic feel without really sacrificing the ethereal tone of Anette’s voice. The song continues and unexpectedly changes to a more driving tempo halfway through the song. The frantic pacing continues, almost like you are being chased by a dark entity, and then is juxtaposed by another tempo change into a very sludgy and great outro. Being able to safely get away from whatever was chasing us, it is now time to return home.
The last song of the album “Eving Hvile – Libera Me” (Norwegian for ‘eternal rest’) functions as the closing of the portal that we opened at the beginning of our seance. Peaceful, serene vocals flow on top of hard hitting riffs created by the rest of the band in order to bring the album full circle. The band really shines with the atmosphere created with this song, especially at the end, where it seems the spirits we met at the beginning might just have followed us home.
This album is very special in the sense that it creates a story with its atmosphere. I am a big fan of horror media and this music was like experiencing a horror movie. My mind ran wild at night listening to this with thoughts of things unseen and it unsettled me in a great way. The band does a great job with the music they crafted and, although repetitive, it is not boring. Anette’s voice is also very fitting to this type of music and she does a wonderful job. Although the album as a whole is great, the first half of the album is definitely weaker than the latter half. The drums, guitar and bass were repetitive throughout but it was almost a detriment for the first half of the album. It was like you were waiting for something to happen but it never did.
“Latum Alterum” is a great album for die-hard and passive doom listeners and, while it might not wow everyone, it still manages to tell a tale in sonic fashion if the listener is willing to sit and actively listen. As far as debut albums go, this is a very strong one for this young band and, hopefully with a bit more experience and a more adventurous approach, they will be able to deliver an even better follow up.
2. The Brightest Light
3. Liti Kjersti
4. Head Of a Traitor
5. One Night of Cruelty
6. Embrace the Dark
7. Evig Hvile – Libera me
Total Playing Time: 44:28
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