In the annals of doom metal history, three revered figures paved the way for the Finnish legacy: Reverend Bizarre, Minotauri, and Spiritus Mortis. Yet, it’s a lamentable twist of fate that, hailing from the land of Finland rather than the United States, these icons found their devoted followers scattering as quickly as they converged. Today, Minotauri has fallen silent, while Reverend Bizarre has made way for the “provocative” project, Lord Vicar (from artwork to tunes, a sensation that’s, well, quite titillating!). Standing strong amidst this transformation is the sole survivor, Spiritus Mortis, not only resilient but ever more melodious with the passage of time. Their monumental album, “The Year Is One” in 2016, etched itself as a cornerstone of traditional doom metal. And now, in this year, these venerable pioneers are back with The Great Seal, a masterpiece that stands shoulder to shoulder with the finest. It’s an album meant for connoisseurs of Candlemass, Saint Vitus, and the timeless Sabbath.
Allow me to traverse the landscapes they’ve sculpted:
I. Puputan The journey begins with an enigmatic introduction, like an incantation calling forth the spirits of ancient times. Each note is a brushstroke, painting a sonic tapestry that envelops the listener in an otherworldly embrace.
II. Death’s Charioteer Here, the tempo is a deliberate procession, evoking the image of a somber parade. The mournful melody intertwines with haunting vocals, weaving a tale of mortality and the passage into the unknown.
III. Martyrdom Operation A surge of energy courses through, like a relentless surge of emotion. The riffs are bold and unyielding, a testament to the band’s mastery of their craft. The song’s structure is a journey in itself, traversing peaks and valleys of sound.
IV. Skoptsy An eerie ambiance sets the stage for an exploration of darker themes. The atmosphere is dense, akin to the thick mist of ancient forests. The churning riffs evoke a sense of foreboding, drawing the listener into a realm of mystery.
V. Khristovovery The pace quickens, like the racing heartbeat of a wanderer on an arcane quest. The vocals are a potent invocation, drawing from the well of ancient wisdom. This is a tale of transformation, a musical alchemy that transmutes sound into emotion.
VI. Vision of Immortality A symphony of riffs unfolds, each note resonating with a sense of grandeur. The rhythm is hypnotic, luring the listener into a trance-like state. It’s a vision of eternity, a sonic portrayal of the infinite.
VII. Feast of the Lord The tone shifts, as if entering a hallowed cathedral. The riffs reverberate like hymns, and the vocals carry a sense of reverence. It’s a feast for the senses, a banquet of sound that nourishes the soul.
VIII. Are You a Witch The album concludes with an air of mystique, a question lingering in the ether. The riffs dance with an almost playful energy, juxtaposed against the weighty themes. It’s a fitting finale, leaving the listener with a sense of wonder.
As I reflect on the epic journey that “The Great Seal” embarks upon, I’m reminded of the enduring power of doom metal. Reverend Bizarre, Minotauri, and Spiritus Mortis have etched their names into the annals of music history, leaving behind a legacy that continues to captivate and inspire. Their ability to seamlessly blend melody, intensity, and mystique sets them apart as true pioneers of the genre.
In a world where musical landscapes are ever-changing, these Finnish legends stand as pillars of doom metal, reminding us of the timeless magic that music can weave. Their melodies, riffs, and lyrical tapestries continue to resonate, bridging the gap between the past and the present, and promising to inspire future generations of musicians and listeners alike.
As we bid farewell to this extraordinary journey through “The Great Seal,” we’re left with a sense of awe and reverence for the indelible mark these bands have left on the world of music.
Tracklist info and edited by Victor Son