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Album Of The Month November 2008
Skepticism | ‘Alloy’

“Spring is the mischief in me,” wrote Robert Frost.

Well winter is the doom in the rest of us, and Skepticism’s long awaited new album couldn’t be any more becoming of the season.

They’re a band of real class, who have garnered critical acclaim since day one. Through ‘Stormcrowfleet’,  ‘Lead and Aether’, and ‘Farmakon’ the band have shown a dedication to pure funeral doom, and in so doing, have created a magic and mystique around their name.  This album shows why.

Not for them the conveyor belt year on year release cycle. We’ve been waiting since 2003 for this, and it goes without saying that they’ve used the time wisely. There is certainly something wiser and older about the music of ‘Alloy’.

While retaining the suffocatingly slow pace of the style, their dirge has taken on a new class. Those massive church organs dominate just as they rightly should, and never once sound hammy or overwrought. Skepticism have always made them their own, and the almost religious solemnity they bring to the band’s crushing doom is a rare treat still.

Album highlight ‘The Curtain’ shows the band at the peak of their creative powers. The reason is that it’s captured a feel that only the most perfect doom metal does – the vertigo, the delirium, the bittersweet nature of the suffering they’re giving sound to. It’s a rare feat, but I’m sure we can all think of one or two spectulars of the genre that achieve it, and sum up the whole godforsaken enterprise.

Individual tracks though must be more or less forgotten. You’re in this album for the long haul, and anything else wouldn’t be entering (enterring?) into the spirit of it. It’s one for walks, one for winter.  Hypnotic without being dreary, a powerful dirge that is never once boring, with it Skepticism have created an album more than worthy of their name. It’s a powerful thing in metal when you can pick up a cd by a band knowing only that much, yet knowing for certain that it will never disappoint. These Finns are in a league of their own within funeral doom, and they’ve showed that much over the years. ‘Alloy’ is an honest, poignant, heavy and evocative album – miss it at your peril.

4.6/5 – Earl Grey ::: 10/11/08

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