Pylon is a doom metal band out of Switzerland that has been around for sometime, well since about 2003, and now with “The Harrowing of Hell” have five full length albums under their belt. I personally have not much experience when it comes to doom metal bands, but doom metalers like Saint Vitus have always been good doom band in my mind, and carried a fair amount of clout. Candlemass is also at the top of the list. But I believe my intensive and broad musical interests, and if you saw the library of music I have, its not something to be exactly shy about. I have always had an intense interest in music since I was about 12 years old, and also have an intensive library on the history of music across all genre’s. I appreciate good music regardless of genre, and listened to a couple thousand bands in my lifetime to warrant an opinion on a band. So without me boring you on whether or not I am able to write review on a band from a genre I do not usually frequent, here goes.
As I said these doom makers hail out of Switzerland, home of some of the best chocolate on earth and manufacturers of one of the safest and highest quality cars in the world, The Volvo. One requirement for me with doom, its got to have a heavy sound to it, and Pylon dig their claws deep with heavy laden hooks, kind reminiscent of bands like Candlemass.
“The Harrowing of Hell” is by any standard a heavy album, that thunderously dooms away from beginning to end in which in a song like “The Streams of Forgetfulness” marches forth with sludgy guitar playing, that any doom head should enjoy. Though personal I could not sit through the album in one sitting, as it was too much doom for myself to take in , in one sitting, songs like “Returnal Etern” does get me wishing a had long locks to swing slowly to the hard hitting slow driving guitar riffs. What I also like, besides, “Lines” which comes in at just over 9 minutes is that the song lengths in total are not too long, to a point where sometimes even a good song can get tiresome. I don’t think you gonna sing any of these songs while working hard at the grind or scream them out a loud when you taking a shower, the choruses and pace don’t shout for that, but that aside, what you get overall are some solid songs. But then again this is not some pop album, and certainly that was not the intention , its a doom album and from the start their is no mistaking it for that, and for the mere fact that bands like Saint Vitus, Trouble and Candlemass come to mind, and excuse me if you disagree, but could there be some Black Sabbath-ish sound influence buried deep under the doom somewhere, just a smidgeon?, for me its very much apparent, and it makes sense, since they covered Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. Pylon strips “Paranoid” to a slow march, breaking it down where only reminiscences of the original exists. As a song standing on its own its not bad, but as a cover, and being quiet fond myself of the original, I am in two minds if it actually does it justice in this style. That aside, “The stream of forgetfulness” is a song that on first listen caught my attention from start to end, its has some heavy well played doom beats, with its thunderously slow guitar riffing keeping things sludging forward with conviction, and when the song starts driving like a sledge hammer, it slams with power, in addition to that, I enjoyed the wailing lead guitar which is just so delectable towards the end of the song. I actually pushed replay after it was finished. So “The streams of forgetfulness” is at-least one track that stands out, you not going to hum with it, and you might forget it a little while after you listen, but whilst it played it certainly caught my attention and draw me into its doomage. I have actually returned several times back to the song. If you want to listen to what doom music should incorporate, that’s the song I’d suggest of this release.
It took a couple listens to truly appreciate all that this album has on offer, but like a good wine you just don’t dive into an album like this and swallow the whole thing in one gulp, you savor it over a period of time before ultimately deciding where the taste sits in your palate. This album is like most exceptional art, it must be savored to be enjoyed. Its not the most hooked filled album out there, but by no means is a bad album. Like I said their songs are not overly long, else this might in some places become a little boring. I would not recommend this as a drink everyone is going to enjoy, or savor in the same light, its just one of those albums that could get mixed feelings. Just like you get some guys whom prefer tea over coffee, this is not going to be everyone’s cuppa Joe. But that aside if you want some solid doom to add to your collection, and worthy of sitting next to your Trouble, Saint Vitus and Candlemass cd’s then this would be a great addition to that collection. Over all this is above average doom riffage that could share the stage anashamably with some of the best in the genre. Apparently The Harrowing was originally released on vinyl in a limited 300 copies run. What Roxx Records have done is added two new additional tracks, not previously released to bring the track total up to 9 songs, they are the overly long and exhausting “Lines” and the strong, war march like sounds of “Golden Voice”.
In conclusion, if you are a doom fan go grab this release. I honestly think you cannot go wrong by including this in your collection of doom metal. This is a thunderous sledge hammering metal pounding doom beast of an album, best played in the dark, and loud…its one of those albums, the louder its played, the better the impact. So cheers to some epic doom metal offerings from Pylon. Special guests include the likes of, Ian Arkley (My Silent Wake), Jordan Cutajar of Nomad Son contributes lead vocals on three tracks, Reno Meier of Sin Starlett (lead guitar), and David Vollenweider and Vale Baumgartner (lead guitar). All of whom offer their crazy talents to this release and help make this doom offering one that can stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the great doom bands of the past like Candlemass and Saint Vitus etc….overall a solid release. If the question was asked, do we want to hear more from these lads, my answer would be yes, and certainly for the doom metal lovers, who love a bit of stoner’s edge sprinkled a little into it, this is a nice addition to the world of doom metal.
For fans of: Saint Vitus, Trouble, Candlemass.
1. Gethsemani 2:44
2. Psalm 139 a 4:43
3. The Stream Of Forgetfulness 6:38
4. Psalm 139 b 6:22
5. Returnal Etern 10:50
6. You Have Been Warned 5:43
7. Paranoid 4:05 (Black Sabbath cover)
8. Golden Voice 4:21 (new track)
9. Lines 9:13 (new track)
Matt Brand – Guitar, Vocals
Andy La Morte – Guitar
Andrea J.C. Tinner – Drums
Record Label: Roxx Records, June 2013
Natural Songbirth (March 2004) NonStopMusic
Th’ Eternal Wedding Band (September 2006) NonStopMusic
Doom (February 2009) NonStopMusic
Armoury Of God (March 2011) NonStopMusic
The Harrowing Of Hell (LP) (August 2012) NonStopMusic
The Harrowing Of Hell (CD) (11 June 2013) Roxxproductions / Century Media Distro
Video below for: Psalm 139a
Video below for: Gethsemani