SummaryDripping with melodic flavors
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It often fascinates me how certain bands manage to out-play the ones they were inspired by in the first place. Enter Majestic Downfall, who must have studied October Tide’s melodic sensibilities for their own advantage and while Waters of Fate might not be the next Rain Without End in terms of style or execution, I’ll gladly take this over anything that band has released ever since.
Even if Majestic Downfall aren’t afraid to demonstrate a familiar brand of melodicism, Waters of Fate never turns into some rock beat unlike, say, Rapture and it’s all for the best. While arguably the band’s most melodic record so far, Waters of Fate retains a sense of substance. Some of its highlights would be the instantly memorable lead opening of the title track or the unexpected castle shattering motives of “Collapsed Pitch Black”. I wouldn’t claim that Waters of Fate serves as a riff-fronted record by any means as occasional uninspired moments come down to the one dimensional chugging (even if they’re often served with a memorable lead riff on top), but fortunately these only appear briefly from time to time. The title track exemplifies this perfectly; which by the time it starts to lose appeal, quickly picks up once the track blasts onward and finishes off with some nostalgic Rain Without End-esque riffing with great results.
The unexpected bulks of aggression that its predecessor had to offer haven’t totally vanished, but it’s clear that Majestic Downfall have no interest in repeating themselves. Just like Hooded Menace, this band reveals how it’s possible to retain their core identity while keeping things fresh at the same time… something the original doom/death metal bands could have learned from, but I digress. The only element of the band that hasn’t changed much would be the enormous vocals; the harsh cries of this fellow bleed with emotion (only the negative ones, of course) and are basically impossible to ignore. In fact, this guy reminds me of a young Jonas Renske and if that’s not a compliment than I don’t know what is – let’s just say that if you can picture the missing link between Dance of December Souls and Rain Without End in terms of vocals, you wouldn’t be far off.
I’ll admit that Waters of Fate isn’t a ride without any issues and I’d argue that despite its length, its successor works better as a collection of giant compositions, but this record does more good than harm. “Veins” introduces the dense, yet rewarding features of the record through plenty of leads that function as riffs, while the title track pounds onward with class. “Contagious Symmetry” on the other hand, recalls the band losing focus, as the track represents a trap plenty of melodic doom/death metal bands fall into by keeping actual riffs hidden over a variety of leads. Fortunately, “Collapsed Pitch Black” makes a worthy album closer – it’s another massive mixture of classy melodicism and physically harming riff work and I like how the track finishes off with the most hopeful guitar leads on the record. Overall, Waters of Fate has enough surprises in store and its contrasts mostly pay off without recalling any obvious other albums. Hooded Menace’s Ossuarium Silhouettes might be the closest point of reference I could think of at this point, but whereas those Finns pay an occasional tribute to the doom groups of old, Majestic Downfall are clearly inspired by the bigger doom/death metal groups that started to emerge in the 90’s. So, while somewhat familiar, Waters of Fate is a solid piece of work. It’s not too accessible, but any doom/death metal fan will probably find its rewarding enough once you’ll start to pick up its finest moments.
Release date: December 6th, 2018
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