‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’
High Roller Records (6 June 2014)
Awesome epic riffs, heaven-sent choruses, guitar solos that lift your feet from the ground… From the guys who brought us Procession, here’s some more top-quality doom metal from Chile.
Claudio Botarro (bass) and Felipe Plaza (vocals) received much adulation for last year’s ‘To Reap Heavens Apart’, but while Procession is led by the latter, this band is distinctively the brainchild of Botarro. He has even thrown in a few bass guitar solos, and created the album’s classic-looking artwork himself.
More complex than Procession, Capilla Ardiente use a surgical blade rather than a hammer (of doom). Every song is an exciting experience, unfolding like a treasure map to be explored, with ‘Towards The Midnight Ocean’ probably the best of a very good bunch. This track showcases the band’s great musicianship and sophisticated composition skills, which were first unveiled on the 2009 EP ‘Solve Et Coagula’ but which now have reached new heights.
This is an album that could easily sit alongside some of the best offerings of the classic early-1990s epic doom scene, enjoying a richness and warmth in its production, as well as in its homage to some of the genre’s greats. And yet it’s also full of energy and invention, and sounds both modern and relevant.
The PR material that accompanies DoomMetalHeaven’s promo copy of the album makes a number of astonishing claims. “What a record!” it says, which is fair enough – this is a very impressive piece of work. “Album of the year so far!” it hollers – and that will certainly be the case in some people’s eyes. “The most important doom metal release since Candlemass’s masterpiece ‘Nightfall’!” it shrieks. Woah, hang on a minute. The best doom album in the last 27 years? That’s pushing the enthusiasm lever just a little too far.
There are a number of reasons why ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ is not quite of the absolutely highest standard as set by ‘Nightfall’. Plaza does not have a Messiah-like range to effortlessly hit the ultimate highs and lows and on occasion he strains slightly at the demands Botarro’s music places on him. Not all of the songs on this album deliver a killer central musical theme that immediately stands out from anything else you’ve ever heard and digs into your brain forever. Moreover, the album offers just four full-sized songs plus two small instrumentals, which seems rather minimal, even if the four songs in question each stretch to ten minutes or more.
So, no, not quite ‘Nightfall’ but still better than most. Comparisons with Candlemass, and Solitude Aeturnus, are applicable though, because Capilla Ardiente is one of few epic doom bands capable of making this difficult style of metal sound effortless. ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ is wonderfully ambitious, dramatic and emotional, without ever becoming pompous or fake. The band demonstrates an enviable ability to be creative and individual, even considering the tight restraints and many potential pitfalls of this most delicate, self-conscious of genres.
Capilla Ardiente have clearly read ‘How To Bake A Doom Metal Cake’ by L. Edling so often that melodic heaviness comes naturally to them. And they have added a few secret ingredients of their own to create something pretty spectacular.