Gloomy Sunday - Beyond Good and Evil
Solitude Productions
Sludgy Stoner Doom
9 songs (50'49")
Release year: 2007
Solitude Productions
Reviewed by Adam
I have to confess that I broke a cardinal rule of mine with this review. I usually make it a point to attempt to not formulate any assumptions about a band I have not heard before writing their review, be it through hearsay or any other reason. I feel that, for me to break this rule would be unfair to said band and threatens my objectivity. Most times, this isn’t hard for me to do. However, when the folks at Solitude Productions sent over Beyond Good and Evil, the debut album of Sweden’s Gloomy Sunday, I couldn’t help myself. First, if you had not noticed, their moniker is merely a synonym for Black Sabbath. Another ode to the metal legends comes in the form of the band’s logo, which looks almost like it was lifted right off the cover of We Sold Our Soul for Rock N’ Roll. These two signs were too hard to ignore, and I found myself fully expecting yet another doomy stoner rock clone of Black Sabbath a la Sheavy. What I got just reinforces to me that I should follow my own rules, as Beyond Good and Evil owes it sound more to the likes of Electric Wizard or YOB. Maybe they should have picked a name like Shocking Sorcerer to be more accurate. (Just kidding, of course)

Based off the two bands I just likened them to, you should not be surprised to learn that Gloomy Sunday keys their sound off an absurd amount of distortion and low end, both on bass and guitar. In fact, I would say that they take the cake in this regard. Just listen to the opener, Living Dead at the Tradecentre Morgue, and you’ll quickly realize that it may not be possible to pack any more distortion into the production without making it purely white noise. Jari Kuittinen’s vocals are extremely low in the mix, but from what little you can hear, they are similar to vocals found in Cult of Luna or Isis. The riffing also has the essence of sludge, from what you can discern anyway. I probably sound like I am detracting for this, and I guess I am, to an extent. I prefer a distorted sound for this kind of doom, but there are times in Beyond Good and Evil when it feels overdone and actually seems to reduce the thickness of the riffing. That’s not to say that these guys aren’t talented, but they may want to study Dopethrone to get a better feel for the perfect balance of distortion and heaviness. Case in point is the track Beyond the Light. The main riff on this song has the potential to be crushingly heavy, but is held back a bit by the overflow of fuzz. Despite this, it is still one of the highlights of the album.

The pace of Beyond Good and Evil is very slow and deliberate for the beginning two thirds of the album. I personally don’t mind this at all, but I give kudos to the band for speeding things up in a big way for End Trip, which is a nice change of pace. It is also interesting to hear the ultra-distorted production in a different setting; one that I think suits Gloomy Sunday’s unique sound very well. The closing track, Dead Love Autumn appears to be a little less distorted. Then again, it might just be that the mammoth riffs on this 15-minute monster of a track are so ridiculously heavy that nothing can lessen their effect. I’ll lean towards the latter. This song also manages to pull off a clean bridge section, which comes completely out of left field but really doesn’t sound out of place in retrospect.

It is obvious after listening to this album that Gloomy Sunday have the ability to be a staple in the ranks of stoner doom. Considering what I was expecting, Beyond Good and Evil was a nice surprise. I hope that next time out they tinker with their sound and come up with a slightly better result. Of course, it bears repeating that this is their debut album, so no one should expect perfection, or anything else for that matter. I know I won’t make that mistake again.
Killing Songs :
Beyond the Light, End Trip, Dead Love Autumn
Adam quoted 74 / 100
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