Though arguably offering more promise for the future than major satisfaction in the now, The Unholy the debut album from Canadian occult metal/horror punk band Doom’s Day is still a recommended investigation if the likes of Mercyful Fate, Venom, Ghost, and early Misfits grab the imagination. There is also an eighties essence to the sound which pervades the eight songs which make up the release bringing spicery from the likes of Joy Division, Sex Gang Children, and Fields of The Nephilim into the mix. It is a far from flawless release but given time makes a more than decent persuasion that this is a band to keep an eye on.
The Québec based band has been making big waves in their surrounding area since forming earlier this year, soon moving from a small project into a full band for shows around their province. The Unholy was originally released as a hand numbered CDR consisting of just 50 copies, but soon came to the attention of PRC Music owner Remi Cote. Impressed by what he heard and no doubt the promise ahead, his label has re-released the album on CD and digitally. It is a release proudly steeped in the musical past but with the intent to embroil things with a freshness of modern imagination and opinion, it is debatable how successful it is in that but certainly engages enough to incite returns to its sounds and inspire intrigue ahead.
From the opening track Overture, a gothic cathedral instrumental breath within an oppressive storm, the album enters fully with the title track. Dark heavy riffs and Hammond organ like keys merge for a heated embrace upon the ear which holds many similarities to fellow Canadians, the excellent New Jacobin Club. The gruff unpolished vocals stand aside from the strong guitar play and scorched melodic touches to add an abrasive bite to the track. It is quite a compelling song despite the weak production, a trait for the whole release which manages to leave the strong aspects of the album rather lifeless and the raw unrewarding parts accentuated. It is a more than decent start though inspiring good expectations for the rest of the release.
The following trio of songs She’s Possessed, Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and Sabbath Deadly Sabbath do not exactly live up to the hopes though most again offer things which suggest the possibility of good things coming from the band on the future horizon. The first of the three has a great female vocal alongside the restrained and tempered delivery of vocalist Doom, it makes for a magnetic encounter lined with hypnotic rhythms and a snarling bass within the sonic wash of guitar. A short and crisp track it is certainly one of the better efforts on the album to ensure continued investigation. The metallic groove of the second song makes an enticing additive to another strong enough song whilst the latter is a bland formulaic song but one fans of classic metal will find something to latch onto.
The best moments of the album are kept to the end with The Sorceress and its great Bauhaus like opening, the muscular Your Last Breath, and the closing Ghost Of Fate. The smoother vocals of the first pair of the songs are a definite plus to the sound of the band and used within a sinewy and formidable intensity works a treat. The last track Ghost of Fate is a great tease of what one senses hopefully will be ahead with Doom’s Day, the song a rampaging well thought out merge of riling energy and melodic craft.
The Unholy is overall enjoyable with its strengths managing to outshine its negatives but it does lack the spark to ignite any real passion for its contents. Placed in a studio with a top producer who can breathe life into their certain creativity and the band itself discovering a unique heart to their invention, it is not too hard to imagine Doom’s Day turning into a more notable ingredient within occult metal.
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