Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
Welcome back, my friends! I had stated in my previous post that I would do a review of this album, so here we are. For those who haven't yet read my interview with Mark Tierney, I'll keep this short and simple. This album is twenty eight years in the making. Enchantment were an unfortunately little known name in the early '90s British metal scene, but with the passing of time, things change. My first introduction to this band was about 6 years ago when I bought an original pressing of their debut album Dance the Marble Naked on CD. I was in love with their melodic yet crushing display of death and doom metal, so this is a really special album for me. So as you can see, I was very excited to see that they unexpectedly reformed to work on this album in question. The results are what we will now be hearing with Cold Soul Embrace.
The first taste we received of the album was last year's "As Greed as the Eye Beholds," which in turn is the opening track of the album. Almost immediately, you know you are in good hands. Everything about this song is dripping with atmosphere and melancholy: the opening morose melody, the crawling drums, and the gut-wrenching vocals. "A Swanlike Duet" starts out with some beautiful clean guitars before launching into some surprisingly rockin' riffs, but even with that in mind it is still a rather heavy affair. It's catchy and all, but never loses any bite.
I think the most noticeable thing about the album is that it is quite melodic, perhaps moreso than the debut. Songs like "Painting Amongst the Feather" and "Of Glorious Vistas Forgot" showcase this to a tee. People don't typically think of death/doom as being a catchy genre, but these songs have some infectious melodies and riffs and epic and sweeping symphonic elements, adding even more depth to already dense songs. But that's not to say that this album is devoid of brutality. Songs like "In A Cello-Felt Glare" and "The Beauty of Liars" are ripe with bone-crushing riffs, and a blitzkrieg of double-bass drums and gut-churning growls. "The Beauty of Liars" is a particular highlight to me, as it is a brutally heavy and groovy number, highlighting all of the elements that I love in death/doom.
But the biggest surprises on the album come in the songs "The Wake of the Hollering Tide" and "One Jump of the Sun". The former serves as an "interlude" but to me it's far more than interlude. This track serves as a breather and a bridge between the two halves of the album. I typically don't like interludes on albums, but this is a very well-structured song. While "One Jump of the Sun" isn't anything new, even on this album, the thing that captivates me about the song is how strangely triumphant it is. Quite epic and grand in scope.
Twenty eight years. Think of everything that has happened in twenty eight 28 years. There's a lot to live up to after being away for so long. I personally feel that it was well-worth the wait. The biggest takeaway from the album, besides the music itself, is how surgically precise they were with capturing the feeling of mid '90s death/doom. The production is raw enough to pass for being released in 1995. The band were hyping the album up to the equivalent of "opening a time capsule," and they most definitely achieved that.
Cold Soul Embrace is a stark, melancholy, yet thoroughly enjoyable slab of old school death/doom. I'm calling it now: contender for album of the year. I really hope that this is the start of a new era and renaissance for Enchantment, because I personally feel like they have much more to say if they continue to make new music. But yet if this is a purely special and singular release and they walk back into the shadows again, then they accomplished their goal, times 10. It goes to show that age is just a number.
Enchantment - Cold Soul Embrace was released June 24th via Transcending Records/Cosmic Key Creations. Find it onbandcamp here!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.