If this were a one-word review, this writer may lead with “frustrating”. That’s not to say that this new release from Canuck blackened doom grimmbois Plague Weaver is bad, – in fact, it shows plenty of promise and it’s always enjoyable to hear black metal slowed to a turgid crawl. Doom fits perfectly with black metal because both genres have an abiding concern with self-reflection, pondering over the Big Deep Questions. However, both styles need to deliver their respective forms of misery as stridently as possible in order to succeed in concert, and this is where Through the Sulphur Eyes suffers somewhat. While the tremolo riffs, ungodly caterwauling and maudlin-yet-horrifying textures of black metal are all present and correct, when the album slows down it feels (ironically) a little rushed, perhaps too exposed.
This is particularly noticeable on the titular opening track, but afterwards the album really gets going – ‘Unchained’ is a suitably nasty pile of jagged riffs that quite clearly paints the ‘desolate landscape’ that so much black metal aspires towards, and likewise the second half of ‘The Traveller’ delivers pain and punishment in spades. Indeed, when this album is on form it’s really quite interesting, giving the listener time to reflect and recoil before the next slew of blastbeats arrive to sever heads from shoulders. However, when it’s off, it feels simultaneously rushed and sluggish, a confusing reaction to have for sure. Still, this is a fine release if you’re into either black or doom that leans on the rawer side, and we’re excited to hear what strain of plague we’ll be imbibing next.
Through The Sulphur Eyes is released on 10th January and can be purchased here.
Words: David Burke