No matter how many times the finger-wagging culture of the United States reminds its citizens to not judge a book by it’s cover, it cannot be escaped in terms of art. The same way we eat first with our eyes, music packaging and advertisement absolutely influence listening habits. When I flip through records in stores, or new releases online, I judge a band first by their name and then their taste in album art. Do I really want to listen to a band named Livid? Yes, that is a good enough name and while it does ring a little precocious in certain context, it’d entirely depend what genre the music it is. Doom metal, you say? Alright, and the album art looks like a black metal/sludge sort of thing using a limited color palette and some decent Photoshop illustration. I’m in, but only about 60% because it might just be that silly Primitive Man type sludge that’s all screamy and crackling. *6 months later* Oh, yeah I’m an asshole.
‘Beneath this Shroud, The Earth Erodes’ is an epic, understated doom metal album that is dark and often too heavy for its own good. The big, booming guitar sound and howled vocals offer a refreshingly affected sort of desperate clarity to the world of Midwestern doom metal. The first two of five tracks aren’t much more than atmospheric build for the despair inducing third song “Sins of God” where the vocalist erupts into his best moments and the skull-shaking doom riffs really come to life. I get a big hit of Electric Wizard‘s crunchy bass-heavy sound, but also the spirit of Sleep‘s ‘Holy Mountain’ underneath the darker themes and repetition. There is an underlying seriousness to Livid’s doom that isn’t comparable to the more common modern doom progenitors and I think that is where the sludge genre tags come from. It has the sort of emotional heft that you’d find on the average atmospheric sludge record, minus the more recent post-rock trends.
The final thirty minutes of the album is comprised of three ten minute tracks and that is the real substance of ‘Beneath this Shroud…’ as the band do their best building up to their biggest, angriest moments. That sense of atmospheric tension and heaviness gives reason enough to pay close attention to this band in the future. They’re absolutely giving doom metal the slow, saggy riffs that the genre deserves.
|Released||July 14, 2017|
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