Void of Silence - The Grave of Civilization
Code666 Records
Progressive Funeral Doom
6 songs (01:02:17)
Release year: 2010
Official Myspace, Code666 Records
Reviewed by Charles
The first time I ever heard this band was on the recent Aural/code666 release, Better Undead Than Alive 2, which also featured contributions from fellow Brooke Johnson projects Minethorn and The Axis of Perdition as well as other stars of the label’s impressive roster. Whilst not really being a standout, it fitted in nicely to that innovative sampler-concept album crossover (masterminded by none other than Davide Tiso) as a gentler progressive interlude in a maelstrom of edgy industrial black metal. Void of Silence, though, are a more impressive spectacle when given an album on their own in which to stretch out, as Grave of Civilization ably demonstrates. This is an absorbing and adventurous ambient-industrial voyage that at times sounds every bit as spacey and imposing as that cover looks.

The sound lurks between a few diverse niches, ultimately generating its own style and ambiance. First, I detect the magisterial space-synth duo Zombi, in its brooding and expansive electronic terrain- epic tunes drenched in layers of reverberating effects and soaring melancholy. In the vocals- mumblingly despondent with almost an indie twang to them- I hear later Anathema, and in the sheer unmoving, dying misery of some of its electric guitar creaks there’s the feel of Nortt (only very slight, mind). This paragraph should have excited your interest- if it hasn’t, leave and never darken my doorstep again.

This is all about texture. Keys are tastefully handled and range from subdued piano murmurs to rich string flamboyance and echoing, ghostly synthesized “oooh”-ing. Every song is based around a slow, thudding beat and so these jams afford ample space for layers of sound to build up into impressive, melodramatic cacophonies. Around this, proggily harmonised lead guitar noodling often swirls proudly, as with the drifting wail of None Shall Mourn’s opening. Heavier sounds are used, but sparingly and they are usually tempered by everything else that is going on. On that same track, for example, their entry at first crunches jarringly but they almost immediately fade into a more seamless wash of sound. Temple of Stagnation punches the hardest in terms of sheer sonic weight, with a proper doom guitar tone picking out a striding mid-tempoe thump, though again it’s drowned out quickly in the murk in an appealing, Hawkwind kind of way. This actually develops into one of the few genuinely "song"-like passages here, as riffs and melodic lines gradually start to take a poignant, lumbering shape rather like a gentler Mourning Beloveth.

Undoubtedly, this will have to be an acquired taste. It hardly ever hauls itself above a crawl in terms of tempo, and it is defiantly happy to lurk, instead of exhibiting. It seems to be proudly the kind of music you’d use for a soundtrack, with all of its disparate elements synthesised into a funereal electric vista. Perhaps in that sense the fact that this is essentially the same formula repeated- slow electronica, searing prog guitar lines and distorted crunch augmented by deeply unhappy clean vocal proclamations- makes sense. For those that feel the existence of “progressive funeral doom” should be a blessing rather than a curse, this is essential listening. If that isn’t you, best to beware.

Killing Songs :
Temple of Stagnation, Grave of Civilization
Charles quoted 81 / 100
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