Bleed This Earth - The Slow Decline
Funeral doom is always a hard genre to swallow, and just because it is massive in sound and length. It takes a lot of keep listeners interested in ten plus minutes of work while maintaining a dark and gloomy atmosphere that pretty much makes one feel trapped in a morose state of mind. Some groups like Disembowelment just used distortion and slow churn guitars and just the sheer weight of the music to drag one down while others like Abstract Spirit included more lush and mournful elements like keyboards and organ for a funeral approach but still maintain just the weighty guitars and vocals that crawl along. However for the last ten years or so due to the likes of labels like Solitude Productions that have dozens of funeral doom bands, it becomes hard to distinguish them these days from one to another. As a result, a group like Bleed This Earth from New Zealand has a lot to do in order to make themselves heard rather than fade into obscurity. Their first effort back in 2020 was more of the same- very guitar driven funeral doom with faded deep growls and a bit of groove here and there, but otherwise rather typical of the doom formula. Here with their second album, they’ve stepped things up a bit on “The Slow Decline,” incorporating more quiet moments to help carry the weight and injecting the likes of groups such as Ahab or Esoteric that were more frightening with their quiet rumbles versus their heavy thundering.
Tracks like ‘The Slow Decline’ start off heavy but rely less on distortion to get the point across. A bit almost Draconian in the delivery, the music is rather simple and plodding with a focus on the drums and vocals, despite that the vocals are pushed into the background and sometimes very hard to hear. The guitar solos are mournful and just as expected, and the track carries for almost 10 minutes so those who can stomach the length will be rewarded for the journey. It is very minimalistic so don’t expect too much bombast, but those who know of the genre’s success from a minimal sound will know what to expect. ‘When’ follows in a similar fashion as it plods along with a bit more whine from the guitars and less vocals, although the riffing does tend to get a bit repetitive at times. ‘On the Eve of My Death’ is drenched in reverb with a thicker atmosphere but very similar approach (again the funeral doom genre doesn’t leave much room for much creativity or sudden jarring moments). The track seems much darker and heavier than some of the others simply for the guitar tones.
The closing ‘Your Lonely Hearse’ is perhaps the worst track for vocals, but the best for just the sheer weight of the doom genre with the guitars and drums. While not the most morose track the album has to bear, the simple repetitive pounding over and over at varied intervals is enough to convey the despair across. It does a good job at using simplicity to thunder its way along. Overall though, those who are hardcore funeral doom fans will find this enjoyable the depressive weight of “The Slow Decline” and fans in general will appreciate the difference this album presents compared to its debut, the absence of other instrumentation be it cello, female vocals, or piano might leave a lot to be desired for Bleed This Earth to deliver.
3.5 / 5 STARS
Sep 29, 2022