AGE OF TAURUS - Desperate Souls Of Tortured Times (Rise Above, 2013)
2010’s “In The Days Of The Taurean Empire”, the debut demo of this London-based band was one of the best doom metal demos in recent times. It contained down-tuned, slowly measured epic doom songs with good vocals, somewhere between the heroic style of Solstice and the roughness of early Cathedral. The demo didn’t stay unnoticed, as Lee Dorrian’s Rise Above offered them a deal, so 3 years after the demo the band presents the debut album.
There is a bit of change in the game. If the demo was mostly slow in Solstice/Cathedral UK doom way, now the music is much diverse.
In the opening “A Rush Of Power” the slow doom parts are combined with more mid-tempo Trouble type of shredding guitar-work. “Sinking City” is made of tricky doom riffs, melodic and epic guitar parts, reminding of the UK doom masters Solstice. Though the demo presented already solid vocals, the singing parts are improved here. “Always In The Eye” is a good example of this with catchy choruses, while the ever-returning main riff is quite similar to Candlemass’ “Cry From The Crypt”. “Walk With Me My Queen” continues in the Candlemass tradition of slow, mournful doom with well-written melody line. “Desperate Souls of Tortured Times” is again more mid-tempo with Trouble-like riffing. “Embrace The Stone” has a bit of gothic touch, gloomy atmosphere and darker than the songs from the demo, the obscure mood reminding me of Italy’s Black Oath. Ending song “Bull And The Bear” is a slice of good old school English heavy doom, it’s like a modern day version of Witchfinder General, a mid-tempo song balancing between heavy metal and doom.
I was more enthusiastic I think when the demo came out back then, I didn’t expect so much diversity in the debut. It’s a bit like they have a desire to mix a little bit of everything, resulting ‘too much’ in the end. Sometimes it’s classic doom in Solstice/Candlemass way, some parts are close to even more melodic epic heavy doom like Atlantean Kodex, then they punch you with a Trouble riff. Still it can work on a gloomy afternoon and worth to check.
Written by Rob