BURDEN OF GRIEF
The 11th Hour
review by Octavio Ramos Jr
One of the truly stellar debuts in doom metal, The 11th Hour is crafted by drummer Ed Warby (Gorefest, Hail of Bullets, and Ayreon), who handles all instruments on this release. Along for the ride is Rogga Johansson (Edge of Sanity and Deranged), who contributes some low-end growls that contrast Warby's higher-end registers, which come off sounding a little like Candlemass' mighty Messiah Marcolin.
Musically, this maelstrom consists of pristine epic doom metal, with slight hints of doomdeath and even gothic metal thrown into the mix. The emotive quality of the music is one of sadness, despair, and bitterness, captured supremely in the opener, One Last Smoke, and exploding into all-out fury in the closer, Longing For Oblivion. The guitars are laden with powerful and thunderous riffs, which at times are softened with hook-driven rhythms that seem to stretch forever. Piano also plays a pivotal role; the keys bringing a sense of the sardonic to some of the songs.
Lyrically, the band explores the themes of addiction and redemption, as a dying man yearning for one final smoke, his lungs close to collapse from abuse, must revisit and come to grips with the blackest days of his life. The nightmares of the past clash with the pain of the present, as he spends his days trying to breathe while bedridden in a terminal ward.
Those into epic doom metal with despondent layers of emotion should check this one out. I simply can't get enough of this sound. Sister morphine, indeed...