Wall Of Sleep - ...And Hell Followed With Him
I Hate Records
Doom Metal
8 songs (39:15)
Release year: 2007
Wall Of Sleep, I Hate Records
Reviewed by Goat

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the legion of True Doom bands apart from each other, masses of them having popped up in the wakes of Reverend Bizarre and kin. After all, being ‘true’ in this sense means following a set path, and there’s little room for experimental deviation. Hungary’s Wall Of Sleep, arisen from the ashes of another True Doom band Mood, play a groovy form of the genre that hits all the usual touchstones with almost depressing predictability and yet manages to be quite enjoyable despite that.

This is possibly partly down to the length of …And Hell Followed With Him. Just less than forty minutes might be perfect for your average Thrash revivalists, but by its very nature we’ve come to expect glacial pacing from Doom. Quite a surprise that this, Wall Of Sleep’s third full length in five years, is almost ruthlessly confined with songs all around the five-minute mark. It’s a grower, too, the majority of tracks here sounding rather dull on the first listen but taking on their own identity with time. Without doubt, much of the blame for this delay in quality appreciation can be laid at vocalist Gábor Holdampf’s door, as he possesses the sort of nasal voice that’s to blame for many a Doom virgin running with tear-streaked cheeks and clothes in disarray. With the likes of Robert Lowe setting new standards for Doom vocalists, why should we the people have to put up with sub-par singers for our shots of misery?

Once you’ve gotten past the vocals, however, there’s little not to like. The music moves along at a reasonably fast pace for Doom, little touches like the war samples at the end of Crusade adding variety, and the musicianship is faultless. From the Cathedralesque feedback and little drum intro at the start of Buried 1000 Times to the last few seconds of Stabat Mater, there’s nothing that a Doomster won’t enjoy. Each and every song here is well-crafted, the intricate riffing and considered drum beats carving a path through Doom territory that is indeed well-trodden, but the view is worth it. There’s even a hint of Hard Rock in the catchiest moments, such as in Unchanged and Cain. Trouble is, there are no immediately excellent moments, such as previous album Sun-Faced Apostles’ standout track On Pain Of Birth, and this lack of something to grasp onto from the outset really hinders enjoyment, especially if you’ve listened to a lot of Doom.

Overall, it’s impossible to reject Wall Of Sleep out of hand, there’s simply too much that is good. What holds this band back is the fact that there are a lot of other bands doing exactly the same thing, at least half of them having better vocalists to boot. …And Hell Followed With Him is a more than decent album – it’s just not a great one, and so is hard to recommend.

Killing Songs :
Buried 1000 Times, Crusade, Unchanged, Cain
Goat quoted 69 / 100
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