Passage - Passage
Exorcize Music
Epic Doom Metal
8 songs (56:03)
Release year: 2005
Passage, Exorcize Music
Reviewed by Mike
Surprise of the month

I have to admit, I’ve been a very casual fan of doom metal over the years, but Passage has really piqued my interest in this genre again. This self titled debut album contains 8 songs of epic doom metal, none of which can be considered filler material. It’s no surprise that Passage was able to find a label rather quickly. The Portuguese label Exorcize Music has released the band’s first album.

For a debut album, Passage have certainly impressed me on several levels. First of all, the lead vocals of Roby are powerful, dynamic, and highly emotional. Depending on the mood of the song, Roby can alter his delivery from an ominous whisper to an angry and commanding belt. During the more soaring vocal sections, his voice sounds powerful, with a hint of gruffness. As this style of music calls for, Roby’s delivery falls mostly in the lower range of the spectrum, with a few of the soaring moments touching the middle to high middle octaves. The guitar work is also very captivating. Each of the songs feature very strong leads, something I would compare to a depressed Iron Maiden style, yet done in their own style. The lead guitars have a prominent role in giving each of these songs a strong epic feel to them; this is really the foundation for each and every track on the album. Of course, Roby’s constantly changing vocals enable the songs to go from angry and defiant one second to sad and reserved the next. The bass guitar has a strong presence; authoritative and very mush a part of the songs, yet not too overbearing. The obvious Black Sabbath comparisons can be made, but again, the band takes that influences and adapts it into its own sound. Of course, you can’t have a quality doom album without quality bass playing, and that certainly is no problem for these guys.

As you may have gathered from my comments above, I find the songwriting on this album to be yet another strength of the band. This album clocks in at 56 minutes, with only eight songs. Keyboards are used moderately, but at just the right times to enhance the atmosphere of the song. As one example, the final track, Coma plods along with a sadness that is also quite eerie thanks to some interesting keyboard textures. Although this track is eleven minutes plus, the song is interesting enough that my mind never wanders from the music at hand. The band throws a little surprise at us during It’s Gone Too Far. Some female vocals are alternated with Roby’s, which works quite effectively. Her melancholy sound matches well with Roby’s voice, and with the tone of the song in general. You can expect several mood changes during each song as outlined above, thanks in large part to Roby’s ability to change moods in a split second. This is the type of album that you really have to devote your full attention to in order to fully appreciate everything that is going on. If you can at least do that, I’m sure you’ll find yourself totally engulfed in these songs from start to finish. The passion behind the vocals and the music itself made it really easy for me to connect to this album.

Passage’s debut album is a very strong album that will see a lot of time in my stereo in coming weeks. If you’re a fan of doom metal, don’t shortchange yourself by missing this band. You can get a feel for the band by visiting their website and listening to A Death In Autumn in its entirety (link at top of review).

Killing Songs :
No Dawn Agin, It's Gone Too Far, Coma
Mike quoted 80 / 100
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