I have to get something off my chest here, folks. I’m getting sick and tired of bands hopping on the Retro Wagon of Regurgitated Ideas. There is more to doom metal than following the dragged robes of Ghost everywhere. Likewise, death metal has a beautifully disgusting range outside of the classic Sunlight Studios sound. And there’s more to France than fucked-up angular weirdness. So what’s a new band like France’s Cadaveric Fumes to do when trying to capture a unique sound? Take all three overplayed, over-saturated ideas, and combine them on their first three-song EP, Dimensions Obscure, that’s what! Surely, this is a recipe for disaster?
Except that this is well-played, wonderfully original, and incredibly eerie mid-paced doom/death. Opening up with some ominous keyboards, “Crepuscular Journey” lurches forth like a freshly-woken zombie, lumbering forward with flesh and entrails rotting off. Just when you’re expecting something Ghost-like, in comes the guitars. Wenceslas Carrieu’s guitar tone is surprisingly warm and only barely distorted, definitely feeling like retro occult rock in tone, but playing something akin to early Amorphis a la The Karelian Isthmus. Make no mistake, this is no mere Scoobie-Doobie-Doom rip-off, but rather a unique and intriguing spin on a classic sound. Aiding Carrieu’s riffs are the growls of Romain Gibet, which are discernible and grotesque, flinging the music further out into the realms of the bizarre. Not a bad start.
The remaining two songs, also do a great job of instilling a sense of absolute dread, although to lesser degrees of success. Closer “Where Darkness Reigns Pristine” is chock full of interesting riffs and plenty of heady atmosphere, but its over-fourteen-minute run time bogs down what the song is trying to accomplish. “Extatic Extirpation” fares a bit better, even if it feels like a continuation of “Crepuscular Journey.” But the sounds created by Cadaveric Fumes, especially by Carrieu’s guitar tone and his Tony-Iommi-joins-young-Amorphis riffs, showcase a great deal of promise early on in the band’s life.
Further aiding Dimensions Obscure is the production, which adds a tremendous amount of warmth. Reuben Muntrand’s bass possesses the right amount of beefiness to be felt but not overpowering, and of course Carrieu’s guitar tone is warm and thick, taking center stage. My only issue with the sound is Léo Brard’s drums sound a bit muffled, especially in the bass drum. My only other qualm is the lack of any major tempo variations. Keep in mind, it’s tough to gauge the full effect, with just a three-song EP, but “Where Darkness Reigns Pristine” I felt every bit of those fourteen minutes.
What Cadaveric Fumes have created is an intriguing snapshot as to where the band is headed, and I’m looking forward to more. So when you take three tried and tired sounds and create something that’s truly unique, you’re on to something special. Cadaveric Fumes sounds like a band that’s carving their own warped niche in the death/doom world. This is a band to keep an eye on. Light the lanterns, ignore the rotting stench of death wafting through the halls and press onward into the catacombs, my friends.