The 11th Hour - Burden Of Grief
Napalm Records
Doom Metal
6 songs (52:33)
Release year: 2009
The 11th Hour, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Surprise of the month
Fans of dutchman Ed Warby are probably most familiar with his masterful drumwork in the likes of Gorefest, Ayreon and most recently, Hail Of Bullets. On Burden Of Grief, the debut album of The 11th hour, he is making his presence felt as a multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire. Handling everything from the drums to the guitars, bass and programming and even handling clean vocals, Warby unleashes his personal heaviness to the world in commendable fashion. Assisting him is Rogga Johansson of Demiurg/Ribspreader/Paganizer-fame, bringing in the murderous growling and additional guitar work.

The name of the game off the bat is very traditional and damn catchy doom metal. One Last Smoke and In The Silent Grave steadily pour gravel onto the listener, bringing out definite vibes of Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. The presence of these masters is all the more evident due to Warby’s vocals, that considerably resemble the twisted crooning of Robert Lowe, just with less timbre. Heavy riffage is blended in with a strong sense of melody, especially when the piano and keyboards are given more room. The production is very good, emphasising the weight of the music while keeping every element clear in the mix.

Origins Of Mourning brings in a dash of death metallic groove while the dual vocal work of Warby and Johansson really begins to gel nicely. Weep For Me uses some really subtle symphonic vibes, dual guitar harmonies and trickier drum fills to go beyond crushing heaviness and reach for downright epicness, almost succeeding marvellously. These epic musings continue on Atonement, which brings in some Katatonia when the moods sink to the lowest and the vocals resort to ominous whispering. The album closer Longing For Oblivion might actually be my favourite, as it’s pretty much a highly catchy fusion of all the elements brought out earlier. Head-shattering guitars push on the hearse as Rogga gruffs away any cheerful feelings you might’ve had before listening to this record. The interlude with a lone piano lulls you into a false sense of comfort before another barrage of sonic mass plows you down – very captivating.

In addition to being evidence of Ed Warby’s versatile talent, Burden Of Grief is just the kind of doom metal that I like: utterly crushing yet slightly melodic, not mind-numbingly repetitive and very well produced. I can’t say that it’s ground-breaking in any way, but is a damn fine representative of its chosen style. With a debut this strong, I eagerly await if Warby continues further with The 11th Hour to develop these interests that already show big potential.

Killing Songs :
One Last Smoke, Origins Of Mourning, Weep For Me & Longing For Oblivion
Aleksie quoted 80 / 100
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