Already working on their next album for uncaging next year, British progressive doomsters Camel Of Doom have just re-released fourth album Terrestrial, which came out earlier this year as a limited release. A ravenously invasive and emotionally corrosive affair carrying an inescapable magnetism, Terrestrial is another step forward in the evolution of the band’s sound and bold creativity.
Officially formed back in 2001 by the then 13 year old Kris Clayton, Camel Of Doom released a series of rough EPs before debut album, The Desert At Night, was unveiled in 2003. Recruiting some schoolmates, Clayton took the band onto the live scene before recording a second album which was subsequently released in 2008. Before then the band had already shown signs of slowing, little activity appearing from them as the decade came to a close. It was a time though seeing Clayton honing his songwriting and craft as well as becoming a member of Esoteric.
2011 saw the release of an EP of freshly recorded versions of tracks originally upon The Night After Time. Mixed by Esoteric frontman Greg Chandler, it provided the spark for multi-instrumentalist Clayton to re-ignite the project and work on a third album. Psychodramas: Breaking the Knots of Twisted Synapse came out in 2012; co-engineered and mixed as each album since the previous EP by Chandler and an encounter bred from the psych/prog/doom exploration its creator had been aiming for since the project’s first breath. For its successor, Clayton doubled the Camel Of Doom line-up with bassist Simon Whittle and in time session drummer Thomas Vallely (Lychgate, Omega Centuri) was enlisted as the following album was being written. In 2015 drummer Ben Nield came in just as fourth album Terrestrial was completed and the band’s live presence was re-activated, though the three became and remained two as Whittle left the band soon after it hit stages again.
As mentioned Terrestrial now gets its broader release with the band working on its successor. The album works as individual trespasses of the senses or as one complete physical and mental consumption, the latter our preferred assault. Opener Cycles (The Anguish of Anger) sets the scene and tone of the release; its melodic and atmospheric presence melancholic and haunting while its rhythmic touch is intensive. Clayton’s vocals are as emotively harrowing and imposing as the emotionally bruising weight of the funereal toned and moving track, yet throughout the sinew wielded beats of Vallely and grievous breath of Whittle’s bass incite a magnetism alone which infests as Clayton weaves with guitar and keys.
The brief melancholy soaked instrumental of A Circle Has No End pulls the imagination into the waiting jaws of Pyroclastic Flow next, the track embracing the melodic coaxing of its predecessor in its electronically rimmed cauldron of emotional venting and sonic devouring. The outstanding track quickly swallows the senses; invading and ravaging them with its creative ire whilst brewing virulence as contagious as it is predacious and just irresistible whether storming ears or crowding them with bestial sludgy rancor.
Through the mercurially venomous Singularity ears and imagination are further seared and ignited. It is a similarly dangerously catchy slab of creative and emotion flooded enmity, Clayton revelling in his prowess at fusing heavy and darker textures, cancerous and hope gifted essences united in one compelling invasion. Vocally he matches the sounds around him, guttural poison aligning with cleaner throated roars before another major highlight within Terrestrial makes way for the distorted sonic limbo of Nine Eternities.
The near on twelve minutes of Euphoric Slumber provides a testing magnetic proposal straight after. With the steely throes of bass and keys throbbing and pulsating through its portentous prowl, the track explores the depths of it and the listener’s psyche before unexpectedly dropping into a sonic wasteland. That desolate calm springs a lone, sepulchral melody soon skirted by the rhythmic incitement of Vallely as a godforsaken atmosphere brews and intensifies. It is an absorbing, senses violating affair matched by the even more extensive examination and length of Sleeper Must Awaken. Raw and drawing on the broadest array of styles and flavours yet on the album, the track rapaciously grows with each passing minute casting a fiercely provocative and emotionally torturous yet often sonically beautiful landscape throughout.
Concluded by the suggestive beauty of the sonically cast desert Extending Life, Expanding Consciousness, the demanding and rewarding Terrestrial leaves senses and emotions ringing and pleasure rampant. There is much more to the album’s sound than even the psych, prog, doom tag suggests yet an appetite for either will find a treat in Camel Of Doom and certainly this exhaustingly fine proposition.
Terrestrial is out now through all stores and @ https://camelofdoom.bandcamp.com/album/terrestrial
Pete RingMaster 06/12/2016
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