This wont to tread freely from river to ocean, from life to death, unchanged and free from the cock-eyed blandishment of the monarchic underworld is the awakened actor Scylla within any earnestly grieving soul. To hear the stone out of reach calling with the voice of the dead, that the sirens of the beyond would carry you safely back and fourth, is a sure point of madness among the afflicted. However you may reach the point of the beyond and ride its margins, dangling your fingers within this first circle of Hell with drug use or any other ritualistic avoidance of emotional pain, will only curse your already dragging spirit downward. Dantean fetishisation of the Metamorphoses could be the spiritual alternative, that which would transmit similitude between the Gods and men; An act equaled in the embrace of the grayness between dark and light, dying and the living. A third world of graying tides and nihilism you could tether yourself to, splashing your feet in this ameles potamos. Why settle for any answer? There are limitless paths to all-consuming catharsis but still, if no satiation comes Helsinki, Finland based epic doom metal band The Lone Madman posit, with some admirable lucidity, that to be consumed by the dark will only then reveal the light beyond you seek. Their debut album ‘Let the Night Come’ is not only a spirited addition into the swelling pantheon of Finnish doom metal but a loose scripture for those who’d grow restless in the throes of chronic existential pains.
If there is a more studious and prepared doom metal debut out of Finland this year I’ve clearly missed it because ‘Let the Night Come’ appears confident in its determination from start to finish. The Lone Madman formed between four relatively young fellows in 2014 and they’ve shown their work in getting to this point with the admirably stylized ‘Dreary Task’ (2016) EP, what this debut for Saturnal Records does best is accumulate the most timeless aspects of Finnish doom metal and translates these ideas into accessible but never cloying epic doom metal fit enough to open for old gods Minotauri and Spiritus Mortis but also contemporary with modern mastery such as The Temple or Procession. The 40+ minute adventure within is not so simply put, though, as this well of old and new influences isn’t without some level of character-building exploration. “Häxan” will remind of Spiritus Mortis‘ self-titled debut, rabid flute breaks and all; The chorales of the title track and the night thirteen minute “House of Mourning” invoke a shade of Forsaken‘s ‘Dominaeon’ with a more inventive twist, and whenever The Lone Madman gives it to you their epic doom straight-forward the ghost of Minotauri‘s debut is surely re-lit in sigillum dei. That isn’t to suggest that any part of this record is unoriginal but that the vast world of Finnish doom metal beyond Reverend Bizarre is represented within this already very mature debut release.
The grand theatrics of the title track may suggest too heartily the purely epic doom metal traipse of this record that it’d introduce. I’d counter this natural assumption with each of the four pieces examined as different wavelengths of doom, lyrical darkness, and a certain narrative of grief’s consumption. The Lone Madman have arranged an album that feels exactly its length, easy enough to follow in detail but never over too quickly upon a casual listen; Though this is characteristic of a good majority of traditional Finnish doom metal it is not common to achieve this level of restraint in the realm of ‘epic doom metal’. The progressive doom hound, the traditional ritualist, and the sword n’ sorcerer of the epic order will all find some level of achievement within these personal but never over-extended songs. They are quite long, however, and there was some dip in the energy of “The Downfall” despite its inspired (and original, I’d say) group-shouted vocal moments and only “House of Mourning” seemed to capitalize upon every moment of its length despite being the most extended piece.
The great strength of The Lone Madman at present is a professional sense of arrangement that still makes room for unexpected ideas, varietal rhythmic sensibilities, and a sound that doesn’t appear too focused on any point point of worship. Yes, it does sound like a Finnish doom metal band but that’d be entirely appropriate, eh. Where I ran into trouble with ‘Let the Night Come’ came from completely loving “House of Mourning” because it’d serve as this Altar of Oblivion-esque point of climax for the record with its dance between sensitivity, Matravers-esque crooning, and hugely stomping heavy metal rhythms. It wasn’t that the rest of the listening experience didn’t measure up but that I wanted more of this dynamic, and could have set through another seven or eight minutes of elaboration. In this sense it’d be safe to say that the established epic or traditional doom metal fan will immediately understand and appreciate the language that The Lone Madman speak but, the potential to reach a next-level of songwriting (such as that of peak Solstice, or Warning even) is yet in development. Perfect for a debut and already quite accomplished nonetheless. High recommendation. For preview purposes I don’t know if the abridged version of single “Häxan” is enough of a soul-seller and it really was the entirety of “House of Mourning” and the vocal work of “The Downfall” that engaged me most immediately.
Offerings to atone for. 4.25/5.0
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