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VARIOUS ARTISTS  Asymmetry  CD   (Total Rust)   11.98
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Here's a quality compilation of current doom metal bands that presents a nicely varied assortment of slow motion heaviness from around the world, with the overall vibe leaning more towards the gloomier end of the spectrum, all curated by the folks at Total Rust, and released in a limited edition of 750 copies and accompanied by quality graphic design. The comp is packed with 74 minutes of doom, beginning with the dreamy Gothic doom of Italy's Lux Incerta, whose gorgeous double-bass driven metal is fronted by dramatic lyrics sung in both French and English and rocks some amazing melodic hooks. Denmark's Whelm follows with a nearly 11 minute dose of bleak dronedoom with gutteral roars switching off with hoarse screams, eerie keyboard textures swirling over the monolithic riff. Remembrance follows with an alternate version of "Beyond The Waters", a melancholic doom epic laced with slow, mournful piano melodies, far-off screams, and ghostly whispers that flit in and out of hearing, like My Dying Bride stripped down into pure lumbering atmosphere. So beautiful. On the other hand, the Dutch band Mary Bell, who have a new CD reviewed elsewhere in this week's store list, drop their diseased dirge "Armageddon Jam" with a feedback-soaked junkie vibe and a vocalist spitting up blood and drug-induced hallucinations. Asofy from Italy present one of most intriguing tracks on the album, "Luce", which combines haunting singing and gasping croaks with strange, dissonant chords and clean guitars, kind of like a doomy, spacey and atonal Codeine with ghoulish black metal vocals. Very cool, and definitely a band that I'm going to be looking out for. Isreali doomsters The Knell already punished us with their last album on Total Rust, and here they kick out a new exclusive jam called "Into Shattered" that delivers more of their weird death-doom that's laced with jazzy clean breaks that erupt back into the sludgy heaviness, and which blasts into full blown reverb-drenched death metal towards the end. Chilean psych/prog/doom alchemists Mar De Grises do their awesome theme song that also appears on their Firedoom full length, an epic blast of synth-heavy cosmic prog moving in low gear. Saturnus from Denmark start off as gothy, metallic hard rock with epic dual guitar leads and goofy metalcore vocals, and don't shift into the doomier slow parts until later in the song. Wreck Of Hesperus show up with the nearly 10 minute long vomit blast of "Utter Rot", all raw, rotten scumdoom with some of the most fucked up death metal vocals ever. I was already a big WOH fan before I picked up this comp, and the inclusion of this exclusive jam from them makes this a must get for me just by itself. And finally Abysmal Darkening from the Netherlands close Asymmetry out with the suicidal anthem "End It", all mid-paced blackened death doom with insane sounding babbling vocals that really do sound like this guy is about to open a vein.

All in all, a solid compilation with a specific focus on what was happening in the bleakest, most depressing corners of the doom metal underground circa 2006, packaged with a thick booklet that gives each band their own page for photos, liner notes and band info. Some of the tracks have previously been released, but the tracks from Asofy, The Knell, Remembrance and Wreck Of Hesperus are all exclusive to this compilation.


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