Roareth – Acts I-VI

By Gruesome Greg

Although they aren’t too creative with the written word—all songs are entitled Acts I through VI, and the band name itself is cringe-worthy—Seattle’s Roareth does have something to offer musically with this, their debut album. Take Zoroaster circa Dog Magic, sprinkle in a few non-distorted slow passages a la Neurosis, and a handful of Cisneros bass grooves, and you’ve got a solid 45 minutes of slow-moving sludge.

The one-track album, decidedly unmarketable as per London Records in the late 90’s, has seen a resurgence of late amongst the stoner doom underground. Ogre’s Plague of the Planet was my favourite release last year, while Ufomammut’s Eve has garnered high praise on this site. Alas, these six acts are presented as a single track, which forces you to digest the album in one sitting—but makes it harder to analyze each song on an individual basis. That being said, Act VI (and possibly Act V as well) closes things on a slow, droning, minimalist note, ending the album with a whimper, not a roar. Like a piece made for the theatre, Acts I-VI has a well-crafted story arc, and though the denouement leaves a little to be desired, it’s still a solid slab of epic heaviness. Not bad for a debut performance…

(The Maple Forum)

RATING: 7.5

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.