“Nevertheless, in this sea of human wretchedness and malice there bloomed at times compassion, as a pale flower blooms in a putrid marsh.”
Trust me, I thought long and hard how best to convey the feelings evoked from Vow of Thorns new work, Farewell to the Sun (Forest Dweller Inc). What I realized after my emotional exhaustion was that it was best conveyed by the above. And with good reason, as these Canadian Blackened Doom creative masters drug me to my nadir, only allowing momentary respites and aspirations of hope.
From the onset, Meeting on The Astral Plane, provides just a glimpse of positive rays, but the energy translates well; not an easy feat on its own. The anger and malice of the vocals sets atop the riffage and flow like pointed spikes, uncomfortable and devouring. Unlike just a straight-edged contempt for all of man-kind, the attack here is layered through differing levels of grief and utter hopelessness.
The visuals are absolutely representative of the intention found inside the sleeve. Drop to you knees in admittance that life can be sheer futility, and that we are only duped by the brevity of love and hope. That’s found in abundance throughout the work, but the evil and contempt are thick in Great Abomination. Any attempt at convincing yourself of progress is crushed under the weight of the track, but what arrests you is how the heart keeps beating with no real reason to do so.
Any soul seeking proof that the only true existence is pain should bathe in Doom Woods. When you thought that bleakness had no final destination, Vow of Thorns steps in to expose your error in judgement. The prime example of thematic brilliance in the sub-genre, what speaks to me is that the venom in Kevin Hawthorne’s growl portends of death but contains the best opportunity to extend hands toward the sky, as to transmit his devilish nightmare of grey, he must summon any color inside the human vessel.
Doom metal is predicated upon dark atmosphere, and there may not be any better at establishing that in contemporary metal than Vow of Thorns. All the details meticulously arranged, it has a painful density that smothers and paralyzes.
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