Now, “The Troll” is not my favourite Saint Vitus song. Not even on Mournful Cries. (“Dragon Time” FTW!) But when you’ve got a trad doom band from Portland ostensibly named after a Vitus track, I’m pretty much guaranteed to give it a listen. This album was actually self-released on cassette in 2016, before Shadow Kingdom picked it up this year. So you don’t hafta go looking under a bridge, or anything…
The five song, 34-minute effort kicks off with “The Summoning,” a seven-minute tune based on a 13th century Icelandic poem, which gives me enough reason to like this band already. The first few notes of the intro are reminiscent of Saint Vitus, before building up into a riff reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s eponymous track, alongside a spoken word summoning of sorts. After the intro, they kick into a proper mid-paced shuffle a la Gates of Slumber with a more nasal, Pagan Altar style vocal. (OK, maybe not quite that nasal.)
“The Witch” definitely has some shades of Vitus in its slow, heavy opening riff, although the verses are backed by a galloping riff more reminiscent of Blood Ceremony’s “Return to Forever,” before the vocals soar to near-Scheidt levels on the mournful chorus. (Hey, they are from Portland, after all.) “An Eternal Haunting” starts off a little more mellow, with notes of Pallbearer—it’s also the longest song on here, at eight and a half minutes. But after about two minutes, the first heavy riff comes in with a 45-second burst before it’s back to the slow and mellow. The first longing vocals around the three-minute mark are very much in the vein of Warning, but perhaps a little more melodic.
“Infinite Death” picks up the pace, a four-minute tune more reminiscent of Witchcraft or Graveyard, before “Savage Thunder” ends things on a melodic doomy note, somewhat akin to the likes of Pale Divine, if they were fronted by Phil Swanson. Basically, any fan of traditional doom metal can’t really go wrong here.