Written by: The Administrator
Sometimes, if I'm being frank, writing about stoner doom at length can be a tough affair. The reasons we enjoy the genre can be summed up is a few short thoughts: the riffs are righteous, the tone is massive, and the general vibe is appropriately immersive. To an extent, then, it feels vaguely worthwhile to recommend this album from Indonesian stoner representatives Deathgang on the basis of being yet another good band hangin' out on The Swamp Records' roster. That alone should be enough to wet yer whistle, if you're a fan of the genre in general.
That said, we slumbering scribes are nothing if not loquacious to a fault, and these boys certainly deserve a wordcount befitting their efforts. Despite an adherence to the foundational elements, ...An End To Ill Omens is an intriguing album with some unexpected quirks that I, for one, find quite delightful indeed.
Deathgang play with the validated confidence of a band who knows their instrumental formula simply can't fail. There's a groove and a sidewinding bounce that feels just bluesy enough to lend a vaguely old-school vibe to the whole affair. The guitar--the star of the show--possesses a simply gigantic tone, reverberating into yonder good night with impenetrable fuzzy tenacity. Endlessly hefty riffs, unobtrusive percussion, and feedback galore makes for a hearty stew, and with the injection of some thoughtful composition, it sticks to the ribs quite robustly. Take closer "Fuzzanna," for example, which features several extensive psychedelic passages bookended by thicc doomy fury. This is arguably the best track herein, as it balances Deathgang's doom/punk/fuzz/psych reporteio nicely. That said, if you're looking for a straight-up doom monster, give lead single "Dope Tales From Salem" a listen.
If you're going to have a point of contention with this album, it will almost certainly be with the vocals. The delivery here is both unhinged and raw to a notable degree, resulting, at moments, in more of an unbridled caterwaul than actual singing. Although it's a divisively out-of-the-box approach in the most immediate of senses, I've come around to enjoying the vaguely drunken barks for their tangible edge and punky attitude--particularly in the moments where the tempo picks up and the delivery gains a little urgency. See the meaty midsection of "Canathoid" for a prime example. Somewhere between a gurgle and a slurred roar, the vocals certainly aren't for everyone, but I recommend giving them some time to sink in before dismissing right off the bat. If you're not so much a fan, I still recommend checking out the melodramatic flair on (the fantastically entitled) " Dionyfuzz," which serves to shake things up. It's a bit of a wildcard, and sometimes, in the midst of an otherwise very predictable genre, the audience benefits from the occasional wild streak.
So. ...An End To Ill Omens, in sum. With the exception of the vocals, this isn't something we haven't seen before. But does that mean it's not worth your damn while? Hell no. This album represents a strong showing in the "things we like about doom" category. To reiterate: the riffs are righteous, the tone is massive, and the general vibe is appropriately immersive. And if that ain't enough to head down to the Swamp to give Deathgang a listen, this particular scribe has no clue how else to persuade you.
Deathgang - ...An End To Ill Omens was released Sept. 4th, 2020 from The Swamp Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!