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SOULMASS - The Weakness Of Virtue

Released January 28/19 (Bandcamp)

Now here's a death-doom band that I can appreciate. Unlike some of the other bands of the sub-genre whose excessive utilization of slow tempos only succeeds in boring me to tears, Soulmass engages the listener by ensuring that there's always a great riff, chorus or rhythmic pattern in play when at lower velocities. More importantly, they continually introduce tempo changes to make sure that droopy-eye-syndrome doesn't set in.

Great riffs litter throughout this eight-track release, making sure that when you're not wallowing in woe, you're headbanging in bliss. The production is spot-on too, the guitars thick and punishing, while the rhythm section is discernible and pleasingly active. Bryan Edwards' vocals are also top notch, a deep guttural roar that hits the gut repeatedly.

Cutting to the chase though, Soulmass simply write great tunes and have the talent to deliver their death-ed and doomed musical vision to perfection. Can't think of another 69-minute album that I listen to from beginning to end repeatedly.

Other death-doom bands should take note - the bar has been raised. The best death metal album of the year to date to these ears.

[8.5]

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