Album Review: Hangman’s Chair – A Loner (Nuclear Blast)

Parisian doom metal band Hangman’s Chair will release their new album ‘A Loner’ on February 11th, 2022. A Loner is the much-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s Banlieue triste and marks their label debut for Nuclear Blast Records.

Misery loves company and Hangman’s Chair are the creators of beautiful misery. The doomsters rarely break traditions and A Loner is another grand example of just how captivatingly suffocating their style of despondent doom is. A 9-track extravaganza with varied lengths and different levels of heaviness, as the instrumentation pounds away, the vocals offer a sense of peace with grandiose purity.

The dejected melody that walks us into An Ode to Breakdown sets things up nicely. The ringing guitars become the only focus up until the doomier crash & bang comes along. Deeply disconcerting, the methodical rhythm is dangerously enigmatic, but the soaring vocals do add some levity to the weight of the instruments.

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Cold & Distant has Hangman’s Chair being less coy and coming straight out of the blocks with fuzzy doom riffs and disciplined percussion. However, what really surprises about this track is that it has a certain level of catchiness to it. There is just a bit more energy and the rhythm becomes more and more infectious as it goes on. Whereas Who Wants to Die Old is an intense endorsement of just how much miserable and doomy clamour Hangman’s Chair can create. Even if it does take its time, building anticipation with morose vocals and echoing guitars.

Using the word ‘beauty’ to describe A Loner feels like an understatement as it’s so much more than that. This is doom but doom that combines the old-school cleaner sound with the rougher and more desolate modern sound. Then you throw in the elements that make Hangman’s Chair their own thing and you end up with an album where tracks like Storm Resounds and Supreme seem transcendent.

Hangman’s Chair aren’t exactly known for their shorter efforts but the latter part of this record features three in a row. Even if their version of short is still filled with grandness and wretchedness. Pariah and the Plague, Loner and Second Wind. Three tracks that show equally and in their own way, just how deep Hangman’s Chair will dig to bring the most vivacious and morose doom to our ears.

Of course, they wouldn’t leave us without at least one more epic and the finale of A Thousand Miles Away is exactly that. A wonderous wander into the gloom, this is one of chunkiest and heaviest sounding tracks on the album. The pace has a desperation to it and the vocals convey that while never drifting away from what doom is to Hangman’s Chair. The crunch and crash of the instrumentation is on another level here and it can simply be called a tremendous closer.

What has always made Hangman’s Chair a fascinating listen is their style of doom has wider appeal. Even those who decree this style of metal can find themselves revelling in the heartfelt and meaningful misery they produce. They’ve demonstrated this over their career and A Loner is just further proof of that.

Hangman’s Chair – A Loner Full Track Listing:

1. An Ode to Breakdown
2. Cold & Distant
3. Who Wants to Die Old
4. Storm Resounds
5. Supreme
6. Pariah and the Plague
7. Loner
8. Second Wind
9. A Thousand Miles Away


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  • Carl Fisher

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Hangman's Chair - A Loner (Nuclear Blast)
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