Norwegian grim-faces SYRACH purport to be doom metal, and in the broadest sense, that's a true statement. They're slow, to the point of being ponderous, and one glimpse at the song titles above will tell you how overwrought with bleakness and despair they are at the dour, obsidian misery of it all. But what they sound like most of the time is a death metal band in a slow part of a song — their vocals are uniformly growled, like a bored Johnny Hedlund of UNLEASHED phoning it in, and the riffing on songs like "The River's Rage" isn't too far removed from, say, an AMON AMARTH Viking ode on Xanax.The problem with SYRACH is that they deliver these stripped-down dirges with so little inflection, adornment, or emotion, that it quickly gets tedious. There's nothing memorable about the vocals, the riffs, or the arrangements, and the delivery is impassive and detached, leaving little impression at all once its turgid time is up. The production is flat and listless, failing to even provide sheer sonic volume or purity of tone. Even when the songs vary in tempo, as on "A Mourner's Kiss", there's no sense of urgency or excitement brought on by the uptick in speed — it's just as boring and threadbare at a midpaced march as at a crawl. There's a difference between doom and dull, and SYRACH hasn't figured it out yet. Things progress so painfully that by the time we hit the first moment of inspiration, the beginning of "A Dark Burial", the listener has been beaten into numbness by the previous two long, staggering songs of useless apathy. And even this one's not that great, though by this record's standards it's a masterpiece. There are a few other glimmers of brilliance — the guitar solo at the 8-9-minute mark of "A Mourner's Kiss" is nice, for one — but they're too scattered and too few to make anyone but the most forgiving doom-becloaked ghoul care. Frustratingly bland and ultimately unnecessary.
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