Sometime last year, I discovered this gem of an album. Where? I don't recall, but it's not important to the story. Stop interrupting. Trees of Eternity seemed to be presented as a new band (because they were) and Hour of the Nightingale was their full-length debut. I listened to it, dug it and read more about these melodic doomsters. I found that their astral, lulling female vocalist passed away before this collection of songs could be released. Goddamn cancer. It was recorded in 2014, so we have no way of knowing if the material was compiled with the knowledge of Aleah Stanbridge's infirmity. Unquestionably, the lyrics feel oracular, but again, that is mere conjecture.
Death's The Sound of Perseverance was written and recorded before Chuck knew anything about a brain tumor, which I was shocked to learn. The point is, there is no point. To life (or death). Things can look a certain way after a person decamps from this mortal coil, but truth be told, the reaper is not poetic. Rhyme and reason do not factor into the selection process. No cadence, no harmony, no doggerel. Of course, that's my personal belief. Yours may differ, but there is one empyrean fact(oid) - I need to get to the music already. While this is hermetic doom, it wouldn't scare off your mother. There are no growls or Satanic samples. It's actually quite relaxing, if I may say so myself. I have fallen asleep to it, and yes, I have fucked your mother.
I want to be careful not to scare off the tr00-est of metalheads (or your stepmother...okay, that's enough). At the end of the day, it's still heavy. Guitarist and main songwriter Juha Raivio plays with Swallow the Sun, a doom band that dabbles in both beauty and brutality. Plus, he's Swedish. There you go. The production is warm and the music blankets your ears. Aleah's angelic voice has been superposed over a bed of sullen frequency. She never wails, yet she always skims the top of the riffs. It's not an operatic style, so you don't have to worry about Trees of Eternity adding to the interminable list of Epica-lite acts. Or Nightwish-lite. Substitute your own band.
As for points of comparison, I'd lean closer to Swallow the Sun (natch) and My Dying Bride. Nightingale doesn't concern itself with anthems or tawdry instrument posturing. Lush opener "My Requiem" sets the pace, and the album stays at that crawling, leaden tempo throughout, "The Passage" being the sole track that dares to double its signature. Even then, it's only for the chorus. Somehow, each composition remains distinct, despite the aggregate of Hour of the Nightingale amounting to "snail jams." At no time does it become boring, unless you're new to doom. If you're new to doom, stick it out. Lose yourself in Sabbath.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:29 PM