Chilean doom metal act, Procession came out of left field and surprised me with 2013s To Reap Heavens Apart. It was an intriguing mixture of Candlemass, Primordial and trve metal acts like Visigoth and Argus, brought to us by members of such diverse acts as Destroyer 666 and the late, great In Solitude. It worked well despite being rough around the edges, gritty and unpolished, and made me eager to hear more. It’s been quite the wait, but late 2017 finally brings us their third album, Doom Decimation, adorned with godawful album art that looks like a gaggle of demonic sperm descending with bad intentions upon a blissfully unaware ovum. Artistic shortcomings aside, the Reap Heavens Apart lineup is intact, and the sound is mostly the same, though there’s an increased trve heavy metal influence. The best news is the band hasn’t lost a handle on their sound as they deliver a platter of rough-hewn doom with equal parts despair and testosterone. Not too common that.
After an able instrumental lead in, “When Doomsday Has Come” abruptly kicks into gear with more of a trve metal stomp and gallop than expected. It’s a rousing battle standard with grit and punch; riff-driven and given extra heft by the rough, raspy vocals of Felipe Kutzbach. It’s very much in the Argus line of vintage metal and benefits from some top-notch guitar work. “Lonely Are the Ways of Strangers” is more the classic doom tune, plodding, heavy and unhappy, but there’s a fair amount of To the Nameless Dead era Primoridial influence, which is always a good thing. Kutzbach does the most with his gravely roar and conveys a good amount of emotion as the riffs pound away like a fine-tuned machine.
The highlight is the muscular “Amidst the Bowels of the Earth,” which brings aggressive yet doomy riffage to the table along with commanding, in-your-face vocals that’ll have you strapping on the poser hammer before you know it. The chorus is a winner and the song feels tough enough to fuck a rock. “As They Reached the Womb”1 sounds like Sacred Reich doing doom, which is both amusing and weird. Epic closer “One by One They Died” introduces a stronger Pentagram and Black Sabbath influence over its 9-minute run, which is approximately 3 minutes too long.
No song is bad, but things do decline in memorability as the album plods to conclusion, with the final two-songs feeling too long, less thought out and refined. Even these have their share of inspired moments however. As always, less is more and editing is a lost art.
Felipe Kutzbach is a limited vocalist, but he does a lot with the range he has, and his roughness is more a strength than a hindrance. He and Jonas Pedersen swing a mean double-headed ax, digging through the dusty, cobwebbed vaults of doom and epic heavy metal to assemble a nifty collection of hardened riffs that get the blood and fist pumping. It’s the riff-craft that elevates and maintains much of the material’s interest levels, even when things run too long.
Doom Decimation isn’t on the level of To Reap Heavens Apart, but Procession still delivers a solid and interesting collection of hybrid trve doom sonnets while maintaining their unique style. It’s a grower of an album, improving with every spin, and it gives me hope for the band’s future endeavors. If you prefer your doom unrefined with extra testicles and backhair, this is that weird thing. Don’t feed it after midnight and avoid zippers at all costs.