Conclave – Sins of the Elders

Rating

Though they’re a relatively new name on the Boston sludge scene, Conclave includes members of notable 90’s acts Warhorse and Grief. No word as to whether their debut album’s title is self-referential.

What we get here is over an hour of punishing sludge, with most songs ranging between 7 and 10 minutes. After an eerie spoken-word intro, “Funeral Fyre” idles onward, a slithering trad-doom riff setting the tone for a tune that’s like a combination of Crowbar and Winter. “Black Lines” has a thick, syrupy, Sleepy feel, crawling along at a heavily distorted snail’s pace for 3+ minutes before moving into a mid-paced stoner/doom groove, which soon dissipates, only to reappear a couple minutes later. I think I hear a bit of Black Pyramid here.

That said, you won’t find any fast paces or up tempos on this one. The band is well versed in sticky stoner/sludge riffage, creating textures that sound somewhat familiar, but are often fairly memorable. The three-chord progression off the top of “Cut it Off” pounds the ground like heavy boots of lead, a harbinger of most of its seven-minute runtime, save for a faster Sabbathian stomp at the end. “Mammut” is the musical equivalent of a buttonhook pattern run in super-slow mo, while “Aethereum” is one mournful cry away from gothic doom in the days when the emphasis was still on the doom aspect… stoner jam interlude notwithstanding.

The nine-and-a-half-minute title track is pretty dark and gloomy. The pacing is reminiscent of Winter, and while they throw a few fast-picked death-metal riffs in there, it’s definitely a dish best served slow.

Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.

7.5 Rating