Doubtsower is a new doom metal solo project from Cardiff (UK) based musician Matt Strangis. The debut album, Asphyxiation of a Seasick Soul, is a lockdown-born cathartic statement of intent, due for release on Friday 9th July via UBAii (a newly launched sister label to Unbidden Audio). Written between November 2020-April 2021, the album was DIY recorded & mixed by Strangis, and mastered by the highly respected Greg Chandler (Esoteric).
If there’s any good that can come from the ‘lockdown’ period in regards to music, it is that a number of musical artists have been inspired to create something new. Matt Strangis is principally known in the underground electronic scene for his dark, experimental output (with numerous releases under his “Kyam” alias). Now, in 2021 he has decided to return to his metal / live-instrument roots and the end result is a phenomenal modern doom release.
Very moody, very heavy but not as cloying as you might expect. The opening epic that is Hierarchy of Detachment has a rich and smooth sound. Where segments of penetrating instrumentation do battle with mournful and provocative melody. For nearly 12 minutes this back and forth goes and every second proves to be as charming as the last. Which might sound like a strange statement to make about doom metal but such is the awesome power behind this track and everything that follows.
Cursed Reflection’s doom vibrancy echoes through the mind, depressing and uplifting at the same time. At least until Doubtsower decides to increase the tempo and showcase a truly wilder side of the music. Chunky and chuggy, it’s a quality segment.
It’s then time for another epic. A near 13-minute epic that punches deliciously hard. The vocals are filled with such vehemence, the guitars really have a ‘live’ quality to them that makes you feel like Doubtsower is in the room with you and the drums add an incredible amount of weight to the overall heaviness of the track. This is a journey of a track, richly detailed while not being overly complicated.
3 out of 5 tracks done and Asphyxiation of a Seasick Soul has proven itself to be pure class. That isn’t changing with the cold guitar sound that greets on Eyes Emptied by Guilt. Getting more and more discombobulated until a cleaner sound rings out and the doominess takes over. Exhilarating even with a methodical tempo, this is a track that oozes darkness in all the best ways.
Finally, it is the title track that wraps things up. Doubtsower leaving no doubt that the effort put into crafting such a track was worth it. The build up of power, the track expanding and expanding and just when you think it is about to explode, it scales back a step with morose melody. Leading to an uncomfortably extended outro.
What an accomplished release. Here’s hoping that Matt Strangis is buoyed by the reaction this album (which is sure to be universal praise) gets so continues Doubtsower into the future.
Doubtsower – Asphyxiation of a Seasick Soul Full Track Listing:
1. Hierarchy of Detachment
2. Cursed Reflection
3. Burying the Fear of a Bitter Mind
4. Eyes Emptied by Guilt
5. Asphyxiation of a Seasick Soul
Doubtsower – Asphyxiation of a Seasick Soul (UBAii)
The Final Score - 9.5/10