Heavy metal records that haunt your bones and make you question your sanity are some of my favorites. I want to feel fear, strange tidings, and odd tales no one ever heard before and have been buried in time. The story unraveled on “The Knocking, Or the Story of the Sound That Preceded Their Disappearance,” the bizarre debut album from Colorado-based black metal force Doldrum that delivers folklore one might find stashed away in an abandoned tunnel, its authors long since deceased and forgotten, their stories dead with them. And that’s before even discussing the music that is progressively jabbing, ghostly, and battered with ancient evil and strange melodies created by these three forces—vocalist Rat Deveaux, guitarist/bassist Jimmy Oh-My-Back, drummer The Terrific Doon McKinnon, names taken from old prospectors.
Opener “The Knocking” begins our tale of these three explorers heading on a mission into the hollow earth, and when Deveaux howls, “Are you a man who knocks at the doorways of the earth? Are you a spirit of air or mud or salt?” it marks one of the most exciting, imagination-robbing moments of the entire year. This song alone convinced me Doldrum was going to be meaningful to me, and there were four more songs! “The Visitor” follows with glorious guitars welling and making your brain surge. It has a proggy feel to it that rewires your system, and when Devereaux wails, “I am the knocking that breaks apart thy soul, I am the spirit of mud and salt and bone,” it undoes me mentally. In the best possible way. It’s a dagger to the center of what I want heavy metal to be and feel. It just nails it perfectly.
“The Offering” plays in different stratospheres, feeling daring, exciting, and fluid, a track that can dance within your visions. If you partake in the mother’s leaf while experiencing this song (or this entire record), it unlocks realms in your brain into which this music taps. It’s like being on the same damned excursion with the prospectors three. Closer “The Disappearance” is the mythology devouring our characters whole, pouring into damnation. The grim epitaph of, “Chasm yawns, rope is snapped, the mine drifts on and on, and deeper they’re drug, blinded faces pale and drawn,” is the nightmare come to and end, a life expunged. It’s also the end of a black metal record that refuses to conform, won’t adhere to customs, and opens that cavity into the earth for all who follows. (May 27)
For more on the band, go here: https://doldrumbm.bandcamp.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://katafalque.com/