Life is beginning to burst again. It’s spring, leaves are budding on trees, and people seem to be in a better mood after pushing through what’s been a pretty weird winter. But that doesn’t mean pain and suffering just goes away. Often, it gets masked by the nice breezes and warmer temperatures, but nothing can really bury the blackness many of us feel inside at pretty much any interval.
That thought hit home when taking on “Lost Eternally,” the second record from doom maulers Chalice of Suffering, and you will feel like you’re taking deep drinks of sorrow during the entire run of this album. Over seven tracks and 62 minutes, we get a full serving of depressing, shadowy doom that displays shards of bone from groups such as Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Evoken, and Swallow the Sun, coming in with a big sound but also letting you wallow alongside of them in the sadness and hopelessness. On this, the follow-up to the debut Chalice record “For You I Die” in 2016, the band—vocalist John McGovern, guitarist/keyboard player Will Maravelas, guitarist/keyboard player/drummer Nikoley Velev, bassist Neal Pruett, drummer Aaron Lanik, and bagpipe player Kevin Murphy—are joined by guests from Woebegone Obscured, Demonic Resurrection, Somnent, and Wilvernguard to create a full-bodied, completely miserable experience that should darken your heart forever.
“In the Mist of Once Was” begins with guitars dripping in and causing an instant fog, as McGovern speaks, warbling, “I hear the echoes of the past,” before growls unload, and slow-driving tempos scar. Murphy’s bagpipes work their way in as the pace lurches and bruises before the track hits the atmosphere. “I am a prisoner, all alone in my head,” McGovern confesses soberingly as the music gushes toward its conclusion. “Emancipation of Pain” slowly unfurls as doom scrapes the ground, harsh growls punish, and choral sections add beauty to the darkness. The singing spreads, going slowly and drearily into the dark, as guitars are unleashed, ugly growls open wounds, and clean bellows push us into charred hell. Sadness and pain combine as the song reaches its final resting place. “Forever Winter” is eerie and spacey, as sounds echo, keys arrive in waves, and smudgy playing punishes. “The shadows will continue to haunt me, to torture me, until my last breath” McGovern levels, as drone rises and collects before the power bursts, a sinister riffs cuts bone, and the track comes to a devastating conclusion.
“Lost Eternally” has a morbid pace with leads dripping wax, harsh growls crunching, and keys plinking like a freezing rain. The music seems to drain into an abyss before the intensity begins to rise again while McGovern wails, “No more tears, no more pain,” before the song ends suddenly. “The Hurt” opens with cavernous growls and atmospheric synth as guitars begin to rain down, and the pace trudges through the mud. The growls are painful as synth tracks behind and the drama increases. The song is delivered in a torturous clip as the pain develops slowly, while the keys well up and the track slowly fades into time. “Miss Me, But Let Me Go” is solemn with the bass burning a trail and the music gushing elegance. Monstrous growls slip under a deathrock-style approach, while the guitars stoke the fires, noise sizzles, and the track bleeds into an abyss. Closer “Whispers of Madness” has dark guitars and creaky speaking while the synth creates an intoxicating mist. The slow-paced thrashing adds bruising, while McGovern admits, “The voices make me want to die,” before the track ends in a chasm of despair.
Chalice of Suffering are aptly named as if feels like you’re put through the emotional ringer on “Lost Eternally,” a record that tells you all you need to know from its title. Brighter days may be ahead for some, but with this band, it’s eternally winter as hearts freeze over forever, with no hope in sight. It might not be perfect spring fodder, but it’s a harsh callback when you need to remember that pain and misery always lurk beneath the surface.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ChaliceOfSuffering
To buy the album (U.S.), go here: https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/
Or here (International): https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.de/shop-en
For more on the label, go here: https://tometal.com/