(MFL Records, 2015)
#FOR FANS OF: Doom/Death Metal, Funeral Doom Metal, Dysphorian Breed
This debut release from the Russian/German trio Unmercenaries manages to really get some unique tastes here as this is yet another band that really seems to play quite well with the expectations of their chosen genre. The fact that the band decides not to just to go with Doom Metal infused with Death Metal touches but rather for Funeral Doom Metal to be a big operating factor here means that the music is even slower, more monolithic and meaty which makes for an all-around more crushing and oppressive experience. The riffs are just crushing, agonizingly slow and heavy, the drumming leaves this feel like a subterranean nightmare and the whole experience evokes that perpetual feeling of dread and darkness that only the best Doom Metal can muster, just buoyed ever-so-often with thick Death Metal riffing and the occasional atmospheric keyboard influx. While this is certainly a fantastic effort in this particular genre, the fact that there’s just no amount of impressive riffing that can ignore the fact that all this means is that the band is certainly just plodding along with snail-like paces, dragging tempos and endless rhythms that drag songs out far longer than they really should which seems to be due to the constraints of the genre rather than anything to do with the music itself which his enjoyable enough. Intro "Among the Stars" moves past the opening bass drones for some thick, heavy bass-lines amid the churning riff-work and oppressive atmosphere featured here as the heavier riffing gives way to lighter acoustic work and celestial keyboards throughout the finale that really offers a fantastic cross-section of the two chosen genres morphed together for a wholly enjoyable opening. "A Portal" mixes crashing guitar riffing with plodding, droning drumming that lets the dark, oppressive atmosphere of the riff-work sink in while weaving the melancholic patterns, dirge-like pacing and heavy atmosphere throughout wailing solos and gurgling vocals for another altogether impressive offering. The first of the two massive epics, "Circles of Disbelief" starts extremely slowly but soon picks up with some crushing riff-work, pounding drumming and that ever-present atmosphere of dread and oppression that meanders throughout out that tends to make this seem all the more dark and daunting to sit through makes it the better of the two with perhaps some trimming from the beginning and the deletion of the banal celestial atmospherics to render an even better effort. "A Beggar's Lesson" gets some decent use out of the rather atmospheric acoustic work on display as well as the effectively crushing riffing on display that lets the length work to its advantage by letting it slowly build-up to an effective advantage but it’s filled with droning riffs that have all been heard before on here which means it’s effective at being enjoyably repetitive. That’s just about the biggest problem here, the length of the tracks tends to wear on listeners far more often than it really should.