SPECTRAL VOICE — Eroded Corridors of Unbeing (review)

SPECTRAL VOICE — Eroded Corridors of Unbeing album cover Album · 2017 · Death-Doom Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1/5 ·
Vim Fuego
Once upon a time, someone hit upon the great idea of pulling together death metal’s distorted heavy guitars and gargled vocals with doom metal’s pedestrian pace to create one of metal’s most vital and creative, but simultaneously depressing and gloomy, genres. As with all things metal, there could be more than one answer as to who came up with the idea first, but it matters not. What matters is the legacy of this momentous combination, from its earliest tentative steps through to today.

Paradise Lost’s debut album, the rather unimaginatively named “Lost Paradise” was one of the first examples of the genre to actually gain a wide release. It took death metal tunings and vocals, and played them at doom metal speeds. The band really hit their straps with the more gothic sounding “Gothic” (hmm, is that a pattern forming?) which also introduced the element of clean sung female vocals, and less of the deathly side of things. The band’s third album “Shades of God” saw the doom starting to dominate, as the death metal influences started to disappear.

There were also Paradise Lost’s great buddies from the north of England My Dying Bride and Anathema. Just about every early release by My Dying Bride was an exercise in soul crushing despair, with wonderful titles like “Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium” and “The Angel and the Dark River”. With less of a death metal sound than Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride were still crushingly heavy. Were? They still fucking are!

Anathema were just as despairingly heavy as the other two, although they lost their death metal influence a lot sooner. No matter, their later works like “A Natural Disaster”, “Judgement”, or “A Fine Day to Exit” are far more subtle exercises in desperation.

Skin Chamber threw an industrial element into the mix. Although inspired by Napalm Death, Skin Chamber came out sounding like Godflesh raping The Swans (ooh, The Swans! I forgot the fucking Swans!). Created by Paul Lemos, and Chris Moriarty of experimental band Controlled Bleeding, the original intention was to produce short, sharp sonic blasts, like Napalm Death was doing, under the name Fat Hacker. However, given time, a recording budget, and the aforementioned Swans’ album “COP” on heavy rotation, the result was two legendary albums of industrial doom-death which have rarely been emulated since. The project was put to bed after just the two albums, but was about to be resurrected in 2008 when Moriarty’s untimely death put paid to it.

Disembowelment er, or diSEMBOWELMENT, as they spelled it, was an Australian band formed in 1989 from the ashes of grindcore band Bacteria. The band became famous for their funereal tempos interspersed with occasional bursts of speed. Their only album “Transcendence into the Peripheral” is still regarded as an essential album of its kind today. In 1993, band members Renato Gallina and Matthew Skarajew formed the highly respected ambient/fusion/world music outfit Trial of the Bow. All in all, this was quite some achievement for a band which only existed for four years and never performed live.

Closer to home, (well, my home anyway) there was Sinistrous Diabolus from Christchurch, New Zealand. The three piece band produced an absolutely stunning demo in 1993 named “Opus One”. The three tracks were far beyond the realm of what any other band in New Zealand was doing at the time, combining doom and death metal with anti-Christian black metal imagery. Like many a great band at the time, if Sinistrous Diabolus had been based in Europe or the US, they would have snagged a record deal, but New Zealand was and still is too far from the rest of the world. The band lay dormant for many years, but was revived in the 2010s, and has been emitting occasional slabs of filthy doom-death ever since.

So why a mention of all these excellent albums of days gone by when this is supposed to be a review of Spectral Voice’s “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing”? Because “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” is unbelievably tedious, and all the previous selections mentioned are better examples of doom-death metal.

All the ingredients for a good sound are there. Spectral Voice are undeniably heavy. The sound is utterly crushing and extreme. Somehow, it still doesn't work.

There is so little inspiration or effort in the music its surprising even the musicians themselves don’t get bored with it. Yes, it is supposed to be slow and heavy. Yes, it is decently executed doom/death. Yes, the band members in Spectral Voice are highly skilled musicians. These things are not what’s at fault here. The biggest problem is it is unoriginal, predictable, interchangeable, and ultimately dull.

This album has had a lot of praise from social media, but it seems like another case of hype building up the mediocre to a status far beyond that it deserves. Music is supposed to inspire some sort of strong reaction in a listener. “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” inspires apathy.

That’s not to say “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” is a total loss. While slow-paced plodding gets a bit monotonous, when the band uses a bit of tempo things improve. “Dissolution” blasts into life after a dreary opening passage, but this is over 40 minutes into the album. There is little to offer which has not been done before. While near faultlessly performed, “Eroded Corridors of Unbeing” has no character or vitality, and is just not an essential release.

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Vim Fuego wrote:
1 year ago
@TheHeavyMetalCat Yes, that's the point.;) It DOES sound different. And disagreeing is fine. After all it is just my opinion.
aglasshouse wrote:
1 year ago
And the second round begins...
1 year ago
Much improved. Now I can say this for real: I highly disagree with this review. :)

Did we listen to the same album? I don't know every example of other death-doom bands you mentioned here but to my ears this sounds pretty different from everything I've heard from Paradise Lost, Anathema and My Dying Bride.

Vim Fuego wrote:
1 year ago
So I have bowed down to popular opinion and had another go at this.
1 year ago
Oh I'll check it out all right, but whatever opinion I come away with, this is a real lazy-arse review and your arrogant responses aren't making whatever point you thought you were making any clearer.

Bottom line with this review is that you go no less than seven paragraphs before you even mention the album you're supposed to be writing about.

Vim Fuego wrote:
1 year ago
And I also said those other examples are better. What would you like me to say? That it is derivative? Incompetent? Sounds like shit? Should have added an a capella chorus to improve it?

It's doom/death metal and it's tedious. I gave several non-tedious examples. Figure the rest out for yourself.

1 year ago
'Reviews aren't just about what you say. They are also about what you don't say.'

Must be, because you don't say hell of a lot about this one!

When I read an album review, I like to at least come away with a rough idea of what it's going to sound like. Here you give us basically one word: tedious. No explanation as to why its tedious.

Well, I suppose you do also say it's a death-doom album, but I knew that already from the album entry on this website.

Vim Fuego wrote:
1 year ago
I could have done this again: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/still-life/354367
or this http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/torment/340490
or this http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/review/hardwired-to-self-destruct/336896
This time I decided not to waste quite so many words on something I didn't like. Reviews aren't just about what you say. They are also about what you don't say.

aglasshouse wrote:
1 year ago
I must agree with Mornium on this one. I appreciate you trying to make your reviews creative and fun to read, but this seems like less informative and more just an excuse to exercise your musical knowledge. I'd like to more about the album at hand other than "it's tedious".
1 year ago
Yeah if you're going to rag on an album at least talk about that fucking album. This tells me absoulutely nothing about the record supposedly being reviewed.
1 year ago
I want to say I highly disgaree with this review, but that's hard, since this is a history of death-doom metal article and NOT a review of this album. You say literally 48 words about this album, on a site that requires 100 minimum.

As someone who is trying her best to step up and write her first review for this reviewer's challenge, I actually find this incredibly discouraging. But it seems I'll be okay, because I can just write anything I like whether it's to do with the album I've been chosen or not.

1 year ago
You write reviews like no one else. I thoroughly enjoyed the history lesson in death/doom and even have a couple of the albums. This album here? I've heard good things about it. Until now!
Vim Fuego wrote:
1 year ago
MMA Reviewers' Challenge November 2017 entry, selected by adg211288.

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