It is surprising how artists keep returning to the doom metal format. This oldest of all Metals may be very straightforward to play and write, but apparently its very direct and heavy emotional impact remains an endless source of inspiration. And inspiration is certainly the keyword to this release from SubRosa. Flirting with stoner, shoegaze, folk and indie, this band spices up their doom with an out-worldly space-rock feel, electric violins, majestic vocal melodies and ear-catching songs.
The first thing you come to note are the vocals, female vocals, often harmonically arranged, but nothing like the operatic gimmick that people have come to associate with metal and female vocals. The vocals here are forceful, but very natural, slightly indie, slightly folkish, slightly punk, reminding me of Kylesa's female vocalist actually. There are also some occasional male growls, but very sparse and subdued, offering an extra bit of power on some of the heaviest parts.
Next on the list of fresh elements in this band's sound is the electric violin, present in almost every track and offering the main melodic leads and some occasional freakish psychedelic outbursts. Together with the dynamic songwriting, Subrosa creates a unique style that is thoroughly catchy, and in places stunning and beautiful. The long songs often have a progressive or crescendo post-metal oriented structure, with very effective modulations or rousing finales that manage to turn around the doomy mood into something deeply moving and entrancing, ecstatic almost.
'No Help For The Mighty Ones' is the first 2011 album that manages to surprise me with its fresh approach. Add the excellent songwriting and that kind of sultry mood that I like so much and you're looking at a potential yearlist candidate. Doom and stoner fans should be listening right now, but also the metal crowd that's into dreamy shoegaze and electric violins are invited. 4.5 stars with an option for more. Thanks again Profound Lore records!