High Inquisitor Woe - The Taint

8 songs
57:28 minutes
***** ***


Belgian metal band High Inquisitor Woe started in 2014 as a duo. Smalle and Vosí goal was from the start to play traditional doom metal. The two musicians from the province of Limburg released one year later their first EP Liquid Times. They played all the instruments on the three tracks that made it to nearly forty minutes. Hungry for more, and wanting to play live, they took some time looking for a fitting line-up. It was not easy but towards the end of 2017 they were finally a fully-fledged band.

Thus, the first longplayer The Taint has been recorded by a quintet, and the result is very listenable. Compared to the debut, the band put more emphasis on varied songwriting, atmosphere and a more powerful production. The opener Stallions Of Doom is not even that traditional, but sounds like a dirty mix between Electric Wizard and Venom. The following pieces head into a more classic doom direction, with Nightshade being a sedate track performed at a high level. Kehaar starts quietly but then builds momentum before it ends with a rousing finale. This reminded me of Solitude Aeturnus. Another recurring influence on The Taint is Mercyful Fate. Smalle van Suuzís voice partly reminds me of a young King Diamond. Especially the dragging, somewhat dramatic Beyond Visible Light is a nod to the old masters. The short Crown Of Aquilonia surprises with monk-like chants before the nearly ten minute long Ghost Trees sets further accents. This track is full of mood changes and is brimming with suspense. Only its last two minutes that consist only of organ sounds and rainfall donít add much to it. The penultimate Witch Of November is faster and more rocking, before the twelve minute long title track concludes the album. This is not a bad track but doesnít offer anything new, and again the last few minutes donít have much going on.

Those who have followed the doom metal genre for the last few decades should be familiar with what High Inquisitor Woe are doing. Despite the hour-long running time, there is little slack. My main complaint is that the band doesnít manage yet to keep the listenerís attention during their longer tracks. A little trimming of the fat here and there, and the next album should be another step forward for this Belgian doom metal band.

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