PLAGUEWIELDER - Chambers Of Death

Plaguewielder - Chambers Of Death

5 songs
48:04 minutes
***** ***
Horror Pain Gore Death


It’s been two years since the eponymous EP by Luxembourg’s only active sludge / doom metal band. The three songs made it well over half an hour and took me quite by surprise. As you may (or may not) know, Plaguewielder aren’t that active on the live circuit, so for me and possibly many other people, their debut came unexpected and offered an incredibly mature mix of different doom styles.

Consider me therefore a little disappointed that the quartet managed to write only two new songs, both rather short (six and seven minutes) in the context of their slo-mo genre. The remaining three tracks are the ones from the EP in newly recorded versions.

The first half minute of the opener Existence Is Our Exile is solo vocals, highly hysteric and full of anguish, before the heavily distorted bass guitar enters the game with a hint of drone. It doesn’t take long for the full band to join, making this track a sludgy piece of doom metal with some unexpected breaks, like for instance two minutes into the song when all of a sudden the guitar drops out, leaving centre stage for the really fantastic bass guitar and the keyboards which also are a big part of Plaguewielder’s sound. The following, twelve minute long Drowned is already well known from the EP and has become my favourite Plaguewielder song over time, mostly because of the melancholic part four minutes into the song. Casket Of Dying Flesh comes in a slightly longer version than on the EP and cements the fact that this is the quartet at their grooviest, like saying hello to Cathedral. Father Suicide, for which the band made a video clip, is the only other new track, apart from the opener. The song starts in a rather melodic post rock way, quite untypical for what we have heard before, but halfway in, we get the harsh trademark vocals and it’s back to Plaguewielder’s modus operandi, meaning that the guys are unafraid to use as many different genres as possible and throw them all together into a big melting pot, maybe not knowing beforehand what will come out. This track could have been a mess, but it’s thanks to the musicians’ songwriting skills that we get an incredibly varied piece of post doom metal that really fits into the second decade of the new millennium. The album ends with The Funeral March, at thirteen and a half minutes the band’s longest track.

I understand that sometimes it’s hard to get new songs written as a band, especially when the band members are all studying in different cities and/or countries, but a little more new material would have been very welcome. The new versions of the old songs seem to give a little more room to the keyboards. If this had been the band’s first sign of life, a slightly higher rating would have been in order. But as the two new songs are also the two shortest, I have to subtract one point. Maybe the band is still working on a magnum opus that will leave all of us speechless. Be that as it may be, let’s only hope that the future will see Plaguewielder yielding more than only one song per year. Chambers Of Death has become the great album I have expected it to be, even though I had hoped for new material. Luxembourg may only have one doom metal band, but it is an incredibly good one!

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