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Since In Grief’s An Eternity of Misery has recently come out, I decided to revisit the EP that I had heard years ago, but back then had quickly forgotten about. Why it didn’t click back then remains a mystery to me; Echoes of Doom may just be an EP, but it easily overshadows plenty of recent doom/death metal albums with its emphasis on big-underwear sized riffs and fluent flowing compositions.
Far different than In Grief’s bitter, yet melodic/doom death metal An Eternity of Misery, Echoes of Doom is a heavy riff-orientated style that offers more aggression, excitement and dare I say, fun to a point that one might wonder if this really is the same band to begin with. Prominent rhythm guitars nod towards Bolt Thrower, Trouble and Celtic Frost; basically anything heavy and who wouldn’t love such a mix? Indeed, unlike the lead-driven style of An Eternity of Misery, Echoes of Doom has its emphasis more on riffs, riffs and more riffs, while lead sections function as an afterthought to highlight certain moods. ‘Graveyard Dust’ may start off steady with some threatening leads at first, but quickly turns into a Celtic Frost-inspired behemoth of d-beats, colossal riffs that could easily shatter mountains and ghostly howls. The leads in between add a sense of suspense to the tune, yet In Grief waste no time by dwelling on their sentiment and the track quickly returns to its original state of riff-driven chaos.
You could clearly argue that based on their influences, In Grief aren’t doing anything new, but I’d be lying if that would be an issue for me. The annihilating tremolos could have appeared on early Runemagick records, pure doom-styled riffs of Trouble should be a common trait of Hooded Menace nowadays and plenty of grittier doom/death metal bands paid attention to the hefty riff style of early Celtic Frost, yet In Grief easily stand out from the usual Cianide, Coffins and Winter-esque bands. With no moments to waste, songs rapidly lead from one section to another; meaning that the fastest death metal riffs allow the tracks to blow off steam. This is clearly evident by the time that the first Bolt Thrower-esque riff on ‘Veil of Grief’ joins the stage like a tank entering the battlefield; making it quite a versatile listening experience after the ringing introduction riff. Trouble-esque riffs aren’t just reminders that In Grief has paid attention to doom’s early success, but they give these tunes a proper kick. ‘Oblivion’ changes from a moody crawl to a rapid doom-sized offering by the time it embraces those Psalm 9 moments with pride, before following up with yet another dangerous Bolt Thrower riff.
Although In Grief’s recent An Eternity of Misery sounds fine for what it is, Echoes of Doom easily overshadows it with its lasting power. The first two tracks will give you a decent idea of what to expect, but since we’re just dealing with an EP, you might as well give the entire thing a shot. Besides, some nice surprises lurk around the corner once you’re deeper into it (think of ‘Beyond Darkness’ with that stinging riff àla early 80’s Bolt Thrower or old Paradise Lost and ‘Scattered Memories’ with its My Dying Bride-inspired set of leads). Echoes of Doom sounds massive, easy to digest and thanks to its riff-centered approach, it feels like a breath of fresh air from your excessive doom/death metal records that take ages to get to the point.
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