Majestic Downfall / The Slow Death

Album Title: 
Majestic Downfall / The Slow Death
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Review Type: 

When I saw the names of both bands joining forces on this split-album, I couldn’t but smile satisfied. Both of them are modestly appreciated by undersigned. And the same goes, I am sure, for the majority of the Doom-community.

Majestic Downfall are a Mexican act formed in 2006 by Jacobo Cordova, who is and was active in some other notorious acts, amongst which Zombiefication (FYI: a review on this band’s newest album, Procession Through Infestation, will be written and posted very soon). There were three full lengths and another split (with Italy’s Ansia), which were received very positively by both press and audience. I certainly appreciate the permanent evolution this project undergoes, and for the material on this split, it counts once again.

The three tracks last in between ten and thirteen minutes and go on in the vein of the former material, yet with increased song writing. Opener The Dark Lullaby shows that progression in just a couple of minutes. The opening riff is a monstrous and epic melody, and after about one minute it fluently turns into an acoustic piece with a melancholic character. And then, after another minute, the core of Majestic Downfall’s existence appears. Here we have massive, oppressive and powerful Doom-Death Metal, combining the melodic approach of the classic scene with melancholy and brutality going lovely hand in hand. The composition mutates several time, with each minute sounding little different, yet without lacking coherence. I have the impression that the heavier parts are more aggressive than ever before, and that the song structures have never been so obscure and angry. The same goes for Renata (which is named after Jacobo’s (oldest) daughter, I read somewhere) and Obsidian (with its 10:10 minutes of length the shortest creation on this album). The latter is the most ‘traditional’-oriented composition, with some riffs that remind me to the earlier UK-scene (Anathema, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride), by the way.

This stuff is, to my opinion, the best material ever created by Majestic Downfall – at least it’s the heaviest and most majestic stuff! Obligatory material if you like (earlier) Anathema, Katatonia, Evadne, My Dying Bride, Saturnus, Frailty, The Old Dead Tree, Forest Stream and the likes! 9,5/10

The Slow Death are an Australian project with former and current members of e.g. Backyard Mortuary and Crone in their ranks. Most interesting appearance might by founding members Mandy Andresen, the woman behind projects like Murkrat (amongst several others), and Stuart Prickett, one of Australia’s most active instrumentalists. After two nice albums (The Slow Death and II), the band now appears on this split with three new tracks that last in between nine and twelve minutes (which brings the total running time of this split, with inclusion of the three compositions by Majestic Downfall, up to sixty seven minutes!).

For a (limited) part, The Slow Death’s material dwells within comparable spheres like Majestic Downfall, yet with a couple of (important) differences. The vocals are dual. At the one hand you have the recognizable slightly-mourning (and little false) voice of Mandy, and at the other the abyssal-deep grunts of Greg Williamson. Also the atmosphere differs from the Mexican colleagues on this split, for this material is less brutal, yet much more atmospheric and generic in execution. The Slow Death once again come up with depressing hymns, based on classic riffs from the Old School, bathed in melody and minimal rhythm. The material is rather dreamy-spherical than suicidal or funereal, and in comparison to the former albums, I think also little catchier and less obscure or ominous.

Must-have for fans of Funeral, Doom:VS, Mourning Beloveth, Thergothon, Avrigus, Remembrance or Draconian. 8,5/10