Doom/sludge merchants, Coltsblood and UN, come together for a split single with 1 track each managing to hit the runtime of a full album.
UK based Coltsblood and US based UN may be far apart geographically but are insanely similar musically. This is dark, dirty and repressive doom. Long, winding tracks that burn slowly but with confidence as they attempt to erase any feelings of optimism or positivity you may be harbouring at the time of pressing play. So if you like your doom to be on the funeral side of things, well, this may just be the tasters of two bands that you need in your life, or death. It isn’t going to be for everyone though and certainly isn’t instantly accessible. Mainly because of the length.
With just two songs on here, it’s astonishing to see we get over 42 minutes of music with each band taking around 21 minutes of the release.
Coltsblood go first with Snows of the Winter Realm. Slow pounding drums and clear ringing cymbals mix with long, drawn out rhythm and bass guitars creating a full but filthy sound. The lead guitars plays at a higher tone, almost out on its own while the Vocals are slow, extended growls for the most part. To say it’s all delivered at a slow brooding pace would be a massive understatement. The first 8 minutes of this song come at a snails pace, a barely alive snail. As it approaches the 8th minute the clean lead guitar fades away and the distorted chug miraculously slows down further, eventually clearing away for a clean, melodic but depressive sounding guitar melody.
The drummer wakes up for a second too hitting his drums at least once a second for the first time. If this slow doom isn’t your normal cuppa, you may well have nodded off by this point but the band are about to wake you as they ramp up the pace and aggression. The drums kick into gear and the vocals turn into a continuous stream of growled fury. Guitars keep the slower paced, distorted chug going but with the drums raining fire, it gives you something to headband along too. The intensity drops off for some more slowed down notes and a little spoken word vocals. At this point there are still 8 minutes left in the song!
Thankfully we speed up next with higher tones yelled vocals and speed drumming. The guitars even wake up for some quick riffing. A minute of this and we go back to the slow, plodding sludge and I would be lying if I didn’t say it was all getting a little monotonous now. Thankfully they have saved the best for last as we move into some real rhythmic groove. The same dirty tone remains but at a good steady pace with a gloriously clear sounding lead melody. Of course it soon slows back down again but leaves the lead melody playing until it is the last sound standing and we reach the end.
On to Every Fear Illuminated by UN. Another 21 minute plus song. A few single, clear ringing notes start is off before a second guitar joins in to play the same notes at a different tone creating a nice bit of harmony. The thing with this sort of music is that it really does a lot of what we find in other genres but slowwwwwwwwwly. For example, the guitar harmonising intro happens all over metal but here it lasts for 90 seconds before the first drum beat hits. The clean guitars and slow drums then last for over 3 minutes before the song “kicks in”. The vocals come in at this stage, menacingly deep and throaty.
Delivered in the same slow pace as the music so far though. Unlike the first single, this one never really picks up the pace, instead mostly opting for slow brooding riffs with different melodic harmonies coming and going to keep the song pushing forward. There are some really solid guitar lines and creative tones going on and the fuzzy this of the drums is a great sound. It all comes together to form an album interesting overall sound but one that just stretches on too long for my simple mind and taste.
Meant in no way as an insult, these songs are too long and monotonous for me. I am well aware by now this isn’t my genre. Of all the things I love in metal, and there is plenty of variety, I struggle to completely get these slow burning, one drum beat every 3 seconds, one guitar note every 5 seconds songs. I can appreciate it a bit, I get the picture and feeling they are trying to create but it does little for me.
Moments of excitement quickly fade when followed by 3 mins of nothingness so while I’ll keep trying to get into it with other songs, this time round it isn’t for me. I would go as far as to say that I could take parts of these songs and create a really solid 8 or 9 minute long doom/sludge song that I would probably love but when you then chuck in another 13 minutes plus, it ends up boring, monotonous and tough to complete.
Of course you should check it out for yourself. This is going to be gold for many people already fans of the genre. The split release is available now on all the usual streaming platforms. You can also grab a copy from Coltsblood’s Bandcamp page here, and from Un’s Bandcamp here.
Check out UN at their Facebook page.
Split Release by Coltsblood/Un (Translation Loss Records)
The Final Score - 6/10