One look at the artwork that adorns the cover of Year Naught Doom immediately conveys a feeling or hopelessness and impending doom. The eerie cover is taken from an Edgar Allan Poe collection volume and couldn’t be more fitting for the wretched death doom found within Ireland’s On Pain of Death’s first full-length. Much like the pace of their crawling, sickly doom, Year Naught Doom has been a long time in gestation. The Mayo doom ensemble first made their vibrations with their demo in 2008, garnering some well-deserved attention, but it was merely the sound of a band that had much more to express and unfortunately it’s taken much longer than anticipated, a wait that has seen an EP discarded but their live presence honed into a tightly executed exercise in melancholy and despair.
Comprising of three suffocating movements, On Pain of Death’s LP slowly and methodically drags its listeners into a world of dread with the lengthy, expansive songs. The riffs are debilitating, and dripping with death and reek of decay, creating only an atmosphere that can be described as desolate and unnerving. This is uneasy listening, simply put.
The abrasive tones are often combated though by ghostly lead guitars that can recall Loss in parts but it’s the trade-off of malevolent vocals through the whole record that really keep this so interesting with every twist and turn. Whether it’s the throat ravaging caws or the smog created by the guttural growls, the duo of voices at play here truly convey a horrific tone.
The title track begins this horrifying tale with a cataclysmic hail of churning riffs, soon followed by the harmonic spell of the vocals. Despite this album’s obvious dwelling in the murky depths, it has been graced with a very slick and pristine production that’s rather spacious and most importantly huge sounding. If anything, it gives this sick beast plenty of room to writhe in agony.
That agony continues through Tell Your God To Ready For Blood, a near-14 minute haze of misanthropy recently accompanied by a music video from David Hall, the video maestro behind live footage at Maryland Death Fest as well as the head of Handshake Inc., the very label releasing the wax of this album. Finally, the exhaustive 18 minute It Came From The Bog closes out this affair in languished fashion; this is draining stuff to get through, in the best possible sense. Year Naught Doom will definitely take you into a harrowing nightmarish world.