As under the radar and below the Earth’s crust as a band can get, Brazil’s doom/death stalwarts Mythological Cold Towers may have crafted an album capable of getting them some serious attention. Immemorial is their fourth release (available from Cyclone Empire) and like their previous works, it’s slow to mid-paced, atmospheric doom/death with a fair amount of melody and a smidgen of goth influence. The end result is like a cross between Swallow the Sun, Candlesmass, old Katatonia and really old Paradise Lost (some of this sounds like their Gothic album but with more finesse). If forced to describe their sound in a mere two words, those words would be “fucking” and “morose.” Though not the least bit cheery or hopeful, Immemorial is so well executed and laden with dark atmosphere, it ends up far more addicting than it should. In fact, it reminds me of Loss‘s Despond. Both are crushingly doomy, heavy affairs that somehow stick in the head and demand repeat spins (this is way more melodic though). While not reinventing the death/doom wheel, Mythological Cold Towers manages to find that elusive sweet spot between heavy and subtly melodic and proceeds to milk it for all its worth. This is their best material by far and good enough for an honorable mention for 2011’s best, so Steel Druhm feels some shame for getting to it so late. If you were looking for quality doom/death in 2011 and missed this, you should also feel shame!
Immemorial is a fairly simple album in many respects. There are no gimmicks and few bells or whistles. It’s one crushing doom riff after another, joined with the low-register croaks of front man Samej. Mournful, forlorn leads are plentiful, as are minimalist but haunting solos. To break things up, they toss in the occasional acoustic break and sparingly used but highly effective keys. Some songs hover near the ten-minute mark and become quite epic in their droning but none bore me. Numbers like “Lost Path to Ma-Noa” and “Akakor” supply just enough melody via soft keys to offset the deathly gloom (very cool hammond-like keys in “Akakor”). Others like “Enter the Halls” bring a traditional doom/dirge with a fairly grandiose sensibility and some great guitar work. Everything works but standouts include the aforementioned “Enter the Halls,” “The Shrines of Ibez” (greatly haunting leads and cool Candlemass vibe), the mammoth doom riffing and beautiful leads throughout “Fallen Race” and the sad and somber title track.
This is the type album you put in, play through and get absorbed by. It has a feeling and emotion to it that almost prevents you from turning it off and it keeps growing on you like infectious mega-mold. It’s just so damn moody and glum, yet beautiful in a funeral parlor kinda way. The production is fairly solid for the style. The guitars from Shammash and Nechron (99?) are upfront (which is good, because their riffs and leads are the big stars of this show) but the tone could stand to sound a bit thicker and more raw. Samej’s death gurgles are excellent and also quite high in the mix, which helps to toughen things up. All in all, a professional product.
Much like good writers willing to work for free, well-performed doom/death is hard to find. With that in mind, fans of the style would be foolish to skip this one. Immemorial has a lot going for it and I’m spinning it regularly on these long winter nights. Disregard the pretentious name and sink your teeth into this dark, doomy thing of iron.Tastes like… gloaming.