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(49:45, Transubstans Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Blessed Void of Bewilderment 8:18 2. Big Red Nebraska 4:47 3. Polska Efter Ida I Rye 2:20 4. Necropolis 6:17 5. Twilight 6:04 6. Condemned 3:52 7. Father Pious 6:10 8. Never Got to Know 5:54 9. Leipzigpolska 6:03 LINEUP: Christer Nilsson – vocals; bass Roger Johansson – guitars Peter Svensson – drums With: Hakan Malmros – violin Anders Smedenmark – fiddle
Prolusion. Swedish progressive doom metal band FAITH started out in 1984, with the three primary members the band has today as the central core of the group even back then. Various circumstances, family and work situations in particular, meant that the band never got around to releasing any full length albums back then. Indeed, until 2002 the project was mostly in hiatus in between shorter and sometimes slightly longer periods of activity. When the band finally got together in late 2002 all the guys had the possibility of devoting more of their time to Faith, which has resulted in full albums released in 2003 and 2005, and now "Blessed?" which was released by Transubstans Records in the summer of 2008.
Analysis. Doom metal is a keyword for this release: slow, dark riff patterns and drawn-out guitar chords are dominating features on all compositions. One might draw a line back to Black Sabbath due to this, and there's especially one tune where that influence is distinct, but as influences go these songs have a more modern feel to them. One influence stated by the band itself, which is easily recognizable for people familiar with the genre, is Candlemass. This Swedish band more or less restored the doom metal genre back in the 80's, and Faith is quite clearly influenced by their earlier works. Iron Maiden might be a minor influence as well, as there are a few instances with segments containing riff patterns very much in the vein of NWBHM, and the overall experimental tone of this release makes me wonder if Celtic Frost may be an influence too. Apart from the quite traditional metal composition Condemned, variation and slight experimentation are traits found on all the tracks here. Elements from progressive rock and metal are most often found, several songs contain either floating synths or orchestrated layers in the soundscape, creating a rich and at times majestic mood in those compositions. Some tempo changes and similar details common to progressive rock and metal are present too, as they are throughout this release, actually. Twilight is the odd tune pushing the boundaries among these songs. Although this track does contain the progressive leanings mentioned above, the additional details of synth licks sharing the stage with guitar riffs in the verse section of this one make it stand out, coming close to electro-metal in style. Polska Efter Ida I Rye and Liepzigpolska are standout songs on this release. They share the progressive leanings with the other tunes on the album, but in this case folk rather than symphonic is the key influence; as these two compositions actually merge doom metal with a style of folk music known as polska in Sweden. These pieces are charming and intriguing, with the latter being the most captivating of the two. The violins used on these oppose the slow, heavy guitar riffs, resulting in some pretty nifty contrasts and strong, defined and textured melody lines. This adds up to a very good album with loads of interesting compositions to get familiar with as well as details to discover and rediscover.
Conclusion. Fans of second generation doom metal bands like Candlemass should be the first to check this release out, and if you enjoy early classic Black Sabbath (not to be confused with their work in the mid-to-late ‘70s when they pioneered progressive metal as such) you will definitely find this one to be of interest too. The progressive elements in most compositions might also see to it that this album has some appeal amongst fans of progressive rock and progressive metal.
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