Following along with Avatarium, little know Chilean act Procession released a high quality slab of doom in 2013 that you may have missed. In fact, I probably would have missed it were it not for a tip from a loyal reader. Their sophomore opus To Reap Heavens Apart is right in line with early Candlemass (think debut and Nightfall), While Heaven Wept and Solstice and as such, it’s weighted down with weighty, glum and downtrodden riffs and despairing, yet epic vocals that call to mind the styling of Messiah Marcolin, albeit a more restrained version. While it’s essentially by-the-numbers doom with no innovation, the album is shrouded in such an authentically haunting and morose atmosphere akin to an extended funeral march (or procession if you will), that it feels like the real deal. The band definitely goes for mood rather than overall heaviness and the music greatly benefits from it. It doesn’t hurt that they can write good songs either.
Songs like “Conjurer” do everything right from a doom perspective and Felipe Plaza Kutzbach’s forlorn vocals really nail the grim mood through your cranium as they float over the oh-so-doomy and weepy guitar lines. The man truly sounds anguished and in a really bad place emotionally and that brings authenticity to the overall vibe and presentation. As he sings himself into a nervous hospital for the despairing, the guitars split time between roaring with power and trilling with sweet, but sad melodies, the combination of which keeps the listener locked in and on board. “Death and Judgment” adroitly mixes elements of vintage Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Solitude Aeturnus and it sounds a lot like the latter’s classic tune “White Ship,” which is always a good thing. The riff-work here is pure bliss and screams “trve doom” to the newly reaped heavens.
The lengthy title track provides more enjoyably classic unhappiness, but adds elements of burly, retro vested doom like Argus and one can even hear traces of Primordial sprinkled about here and there. Even though the songs can get very lengthy, they generally avoid the trap of becoming too monotonous or shoegazy, thereby triggering a mass exodus to the moss peepery. It also helps that the album feels relatively short at 43 minutes and change.
The guitar-work of Kutzbach and Jonas Pedersen is top-notch and loaded with good choices, especially when to drone and not to drone. Their willingness to shake out copious melody amid the doomery is why the music works and they consistently supply classy, tasteful leads and solos. Another thing I really like about this is the satisfying THUCK sound the drums have, which reminds me of the production on the Candlemass debut. Add in some convincing vocals, and a quality doom outing you surely have.
Definitely worth the time for fans of doom with epic and classic overtones and I’m glad I didn’t miss this! Don’t be a misser.