Few genres resonate with as much sincerity as doom metal. Although naturally predisposed towards the melodramatic, it conveys a range of emotions that other metal genres simply never will. Every now and then, I come across an act that manages to elucidate, with stark candour, some of the most primal of our instincts. In this instance, grief. When you consider Australian doom, you’d be forgiven for immediately thinking of disEMBOWELMENT or even their current incarnation Inverloch. If you are in the know, however, you may also invoke The Slow Death, a band notable for their funeral pace and lustrous, melancholic leads, supplied by Pallbearer main man Brett Campbell. The band also featured a huge vocal section, lead by the outlandishly deep gutturals of the distinctly talented Gregg Williamson, a man who sadly, as of 2014, is no longer with us. Illimitable Dolor was formed as tribute to Williamson, and this self titled debut, driven by half of The Slow Death, seeks to exemplify and convey this most personal paradigm of loss.

Best friend and band-mate, Stuart Prickett (vocals, guitars and keys) has striven to mold the emotive tenets of his main vehicle into a more elemental concept. The debut, which only contains 4 elongated songs, begins with “Rail of Moon, A Stone.” Its weeping leads and glacial pace immediately rumble into life, with its bereft characteristics defining the signature of the album. It’s probably not entirely apt to call it funeral doom, especially if you consider the slower than evolution crawl of Eye of Solitude, but it’s certainly protracted in its delivery. Immediately noticeable are the forlorn keys that trace the disconsolate leads, layering the emotional heft – the drama of which is compounded around the 3 minute mark when the track shifts a gear, slipping into a comparatively mid-paced chug. Prickett adopts a slow, low pitched growl to espouse his lamentations and the delivery fits the album like a glove.

The ordering of the album, considering its elephantine content, is handled particularly well. I love funeral doom, but there are a great many of us that just can’t cope with its structure – Illimitable Dolor has the good grace, in its own minute way, to mix up the tempos of the content, alternating its brief track listing between languorous and slightly more propulsive material. The tellingly titled “Comet Dies or Shines” begins with a riff which wouldn’t be out of place on a Doom:VS record. It quakes with tectonic weight until eventually opening into gorgeous, almost uplifting notes. Each moment on the album deftly echoes the different stages of the grieving process, and it’s in moments like these that the band truly earns its “atmospheric” tag, infusing its stock death/doom with legitimately evocative nuances. The organ that pervades “Salt of Brazen Seas” is inspired and lends a particular grandiosity to the riffing, undulating with a tidal and moon driven ebb and flow.

I can truthfully attest to the sincerity of Illimitable Dolor‘s emotional impact, as my first few rotations were without knowledge of the impetus behind its creation. And although, to quote Mr. Mustaine, “hindsight is always 20/20,” I can still honestly report that these tracks were sentimentally draining even prior to the knowledge, which naturally lent a certain gravitas to future spins. Fans of more straight forward genres, looking to spend their time penis punching poseurs and turning their noses up at riffing that doesn’t break the sound barrier, will glean absolutely nothing from a release like this — even the masterful closer, “Abandoned Cuts of River,” a song so colossal in its quality and implication, that it sadly systematically neutralizes the entire first track, docking the debut to a lean but mean 3 songs. Every characteristic of “Rail of Moon, A Stone” is revisited in the album’s final piece, and after multiple listens, I found myself habitually skipping the first in favor of the last, which harbors sweeping melodies, lead guitar crescendos and crushing riff changes, dwarfing its predecessor by degrees.

This debut stands as an inexplicably memorable and tragic piece of art that, given the right audience, will never fail to find its mournful mark. Although the details of its inception are most certainly regrettable, Illimitable Dolor, at the least, represents an intensely personal and often moving epitaph to a man clearly much loved — an immortalizing distinction we won’t all be fortunate enough to enjoy. For the elegiac soul in us all, don’t forget to offer this, and Gregg Williamson, your appreciation, a purpose for which it was so lovingly and inconsolably crafted.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Websites: illimitabledolor.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/illimitabledolor
Releases Worldwide: March 22nd, 2017

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  • rumour_control

    “penis punching poseurs” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue (and thank Satan for that), but, dang, mang, you’re on a roll. Sweet write up.

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Ha it wasn’t really meant to, but thanks!

  • Illimitable Dolor doesn’t beat German Frowning’s new album Extinct when it comes to soothing, funeral-paced misery, but it comes close.

    • Drew Music

      I don’t think anything is in danger of accomplishing that particular feat for a little while. Though not funeral doom, for me the grave honor of greatest doom album still goes to Saturn In Ascension, but there certainly has been some solid doom being delivered as of late.

  • Wilhelm

    I’m not big on the funeral bands who play slow as shit without any emotion, this band plays dark sullen soul crushing atmospheric doom – good stuff.

  • Ivan E. Rection

    Two reviews in a row for you Mr Beuller, and I see you and I have some commons: lift weights to Bolt Thrower, but let the mass of good doom metal squash us gloriously flat. As a fan of Ahab to Yob and all in between, I look forward to this.

    • Ivan E. Rection

      Just realized what tune this reminds me of: Mindrot ‘Across Vast Oceans’. Definite similarities. Conclusion- I need this.

      • maartje

        If you’re right about those similarities, then I need this too. Very underestimated band, Mindrot, I’m hoping to see them reunite one day …

        • Ivan E. Rection

          Didn’t mean to mislead you: you won’t get the frenzy of skin bashing here that you get with Mindrot, that drummer was a beast. Was just comparing the similar vibe of the two songs. Keep in mind, ” …Oceans” was prob Mindrot’s tamest tune.

    • Corbin Deutsch

      I’ve lifted more weight to “Those Once Loyal” than any other metal album. It’s a perfect record.

  • Westpaceagle

    The saddest part about this whole thing is that we are still looking at sweaty man-bun

  • Thatguy

    ‘The Slow Death’ were an excellent band and Gregg’s death was very sad.

    This band sounds to be a worthy successor.

    And, yes, fuck the sweaty man bun.

    • sir_c

      indeed, I am pretty much fed up looking at boy’s unfinished drawing

    • The Slow Death are coming out with a new album this year, fyi. Same label as Illimitable Dolor, which I happen to run.

      • Thatguy

        Thanks for that.

        I will look out for it.

  • brutal_sushi

    Its fucking cold and raining where I live currently, so this album is very fitting the weather. I love me some plodding emotive funeral doom.

  • Drew Music

    I’m always hesitant about this kind of memorial/album. I really don’t want to know of the emotional investment then wind up disliking the music, because there’s no way to feel good about that. Additionally, there’s always this shitty part of me that can’t help but question the sincerity when the end result is a purchasable product, and I don’t want to jadedly dismiss someone’s heart-wrought creation as a cash-grab. Basically, whenever an album wears the artist’s heart on its sleeve, I rely on AMG to be the audience the album deserves, lest my over-thought cynicism does the band or myself a disservice. The best case in point for that would be The Reticent’s On The Eve of a Goodbye; I was incredibly leary about that one, but it got a stellar write-up here which ultimately lead me to my album of the year.
    In conclusion, thank you AMG peoples for (somewhat paradoxically) operating on a broader emotional and subjective spectrum than I can, the interwebz and world are better for your continued existence.

    • sir_c

      The best example (imho) of such situation was the incarnation of The God Machine’s One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying. There are many days during the year that I believe this work is the pinnacle of what metal has ever created, but my emotional connection with this album got much stronger after finding out why it became TGM’s final work.

      • Drew Music

        I will have to look into that. I do love when an album comes from and goes for the feels, I just recognize my own biases and usually have to be patient enough for a worthwhile source to filter through it all and tell me what I’m getting into. Manbun was a strong example of what I try my hardest to avoid, being that it was crafted with honesty from the heart but brought no joy to my ears. I hate being that guy. Best not to get too chummy with these metal folk in the first place. Rabble.

        • sir_c

          Don’t let your feelings get too much into the way of what your ears and emotions tell you. Everybody has at least one guilty pleasure they rather not share with others, to name an example.
          And what’s wrong with chummy metal folk by the way? I’d say you’d better avoid AMG altogether then, the man bun is being cherished here :-)

          • Drew Music

            I think you may be taking me more seriously than I do, I can assure you that I keep a wildly open mind when it comes to hearing and appreciating music. I like something in pretty much all genres that I’ve heard, and while I’m not necessarily gonna go out of my way to sing something by, say, Cassadee Pope in public, I also don’t see the point in pretending to dislike anything that resonates in you. What I actively look for when intentionally seeking new music is an entirely different game, though, and as such things like how I approach an emotional album have simply proven to work for me.
            The chummy metal folk comment, or your take on it I suppose, is simply another lost cause in the case for the world greatly needing a sarcasm/humor text.
            Lastly, I’ve loved this site for years and almost never agree with the album(s) of the month, I don’t see the current selection as getting me to pack up my interweb bags and scoot any time soon. There’s, like, unicorns and shit here.

        • [not a Dr]

          You see? They got you by the feelings!
          You feel bad for not liking what they do, because of the emotional blackmail.
          So, in a way, they managed to touch you.

          • Drew Music

            Coming this summer:
            Touched by a Manbun: The Story of Drew Music
            Rated… PG I hope?

      • CurlyMetalhead

        Hi! Just made Disqus after religiously following AMG since November of last year and am seriously loving these comment sections. Anyways I just wish to thank you for mentioning The God Machine as I went to listen to it and I love it! See you all in upcoming reviews :D

        • sir_c

          Welcome aboard, metalhead!

    • [not a Dr]

      What about a heart-wrought cash-grab?

  • doom-erik

    Australia + doom = Mournful Congregation

  • sir_c

    Thank, Mr. Beuller, for turning your “mayyybeee” comment into a tangible review. The only problem now is that the ROTM of March Trophy will have to be carried by at least three bands.

  • WIRED_Metal

    love me some funeral doom, and this entire thread provided some bands i must check out. as usual, AMG is fucking amazing.

  • h_f_m

    Why does everyone care so much about the sweaty man bun? That album was fantastic, so what about the cover art..