Death Metal Underground

Skepticism recording album for release in 2014

by Daniel Rodriguez
June 24, 2013 –

skepticism-alloyFuneral doom metal pioneers Skepticism have recently begun composing music for a new album planned for a late 2014 release. Alongside their countrymates Thergothon, Skepticism shaped this style from slow melodic chord progressions, sustained deathy vocals, and keyboards meshed to create an enveloping tapestry of sound.

The band have rebounded from the creative momentum lost after their first album Stormcrowfleet with their 2008 release Alloy, which showed a return to a more guitar-driven sound and songs which unraveled more subtly, creating an album of enduring quality. This showed the band resurrecting the metal within the Gothic doom and using it to drive song development past what more pop styles could offer.

Much like other metal bands, Skepticism are both rediscovering their roots and surging past them. A parallel can be drawn to recent Summoning, who recovered from a bout of misguided efforts by returning to an earlier composition style whilst creating albums which are expressively different and of quality. As a result, we have high expectations for this band’s next release.

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13 comments

  • SERIOUS QUESTIONER

    You seem very knowledgeable about Doom Metal Mr. Rodriguez and Skepticism seemed to be the only Doom Metal band that SR Prozak would tolerate back in the day (besides Eyes of Ligeia and Ras Algethi). Bands like Pantheist, Ahab, Evoken, Worship and the like have been constantly bashed in the DLA, could you please tell us how is Skepticism superior to those bands?

    1. Daniel Rodriguez

      To tell you the truth, I haven’t heard the music of any of those bands. I could see why Skepticism is in the review section whereas old Paradise Lost or Anathema are not: Skepticism songs aren’t as linear or heavy metal, and also have a wider range of emotion than most doom bands, unlike a My Dying Bride album which wallows in depression for 50 minutes.

      Maybe it has something to do with the new generation of “funeral doom” bands lacking the artistry of the older bands with death metal backgrounds, like how “depressive-suicidal” black metal seems like a mockery of Filosofem? For instance, the only recent doom oriented band I’ve heard was Shape of Despair, which sounded like Marilyn Manson given a sonic makeover to sound like doom/death.

      1. krumm

        I agree bands like Shape of Despair are a joke. Bands like like Pallbearer give me hope. Not pure funeral, just enough trad doom influences to keep it away from pure depressive melodrama. I find their record Sorrow and Extinction and Asunder’s A Clarion Call prime examples of where I feel the future of Funeral Doom should head.

  • EDS

    Skepticism is no differant than Evoken or AHAB in terms of their approach to funeral doom (at least on Stormcrowfleet). Evoken and Ahab have plenty of death metal and death doom moments. In fact I would think the staff of DLA would prefer those two bands to Skepticism any day. Skepticism has not offered anything of merit since Stormcrowfleet. However, Pantheist, Worship, and Shape of Despair make music for angst ridden and depressed teenagers who probably should just go ahead and kill themselves. Those bands hail from the same musical lineage as Anathema, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost.

      1. EDS

        Evoken lost their way after their sophmore album, Quietus. That album contains the bands best material. I couldn’t make it through 3 minutes of the Antithesis Youtube link you posted when I first flirted with buying that album. Atra Mors is okay but its not really worth anyones time or effort either.  Stick to the first two albums.

  • rob jones

    Alloy was a great album, one of the best things that’ve come out in recent years in my opinion. High hopes for a follow up.

  • Anthony

    I’m guessing the Stormcrowfleet title has to do with the whole “Crebain from Dunland!” thing from Lord of the Rings. Mostly, it just sounds cool and fits the album.

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with all of the dislike shown here for the Skepticism albums between their first and their most recent. They’re actually all quite interesting listens in their own way, but I would recommend listening and deciding for yourself rather than taking someone else’s word for it. Half the fun of listening to (good) funeral doom is decoding what it’s all about. My personal favorite of theirs is Aes, their one song half hour long EP. Excellent sound layering and use of contrasting dynamics on that one.

    I don’t know what Prozak thinks about funeral doom, but I definitely agree with him if he dislikes Ahab, Worship, and Pantheist. All of those are a bit too one dimensional doom-for-the-sake-of-doom for me. Tyranny and Shape of Despair are similarly snooze-worthy. My favorite funeral doom band is Esoteric, but I’m a big fan of the Finnish classics like Thergothon, Unholy, and Skepticism.

    The only Evoken I have is Quietus, which is quite good. I’ve got Mournful Congregation’s Monad of Creation, but I’m not really sure if I like it. Still trying to get into it, I guess. Hyponic’s Noise of Time is an awesome album I never see mentioned. I’m a big fan of all of J. del Russi’s stuff like Hierophant, Catacombs, etc.

    I think funeral doom is at its best when it acts like the black metal to black metal. How to explain this? Think of what Burzum and Darkthrone were like compared to the standard death metal of the time. Now imagine a subgenre that is to black metal what black metal was to death metal. Riffs are even farther removed from their heavy metal heritage and towards overlapping phrases and motifs. There is less emphasis on heaviness and more emphasis on atmosphere, and overall, it feels even farther away from modern “normal people” music.

    I think that there was a lot of potential in funeral doom for transcending to the next level of metal, but unfortunately, a lot of people realized that it’s pretty easy to mimic the aesthetics of the genre without grasping what makes Stream from the Heavens or The Second Ring of Power great, so the genre’s become a bit of a joke nowadays. Guess that’s the story of pretty much every musical movement, though.

    1. Daniel Rodriguez

      About that last paragraph, I agree. Thergothon’s Stream for the Heavens really sounds like the journey of that lone traveler from the Lovecraft stories, and Skepticism’s first album has that quality as well. Even their cover artwork paints that picture. New funeral doom, from what I’ve heard, seems like droning, maudlin slow rock music to me.

  • Anthony

    And for the record, the early Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride stuff is quite decent listening. Specifically, I’m thinking of the first two albums from Paradise Lost and the debut album from My Dying Bride. Turn Loose the Swans is actually pretty cool as well, but its definitely an album you need to be in the mood for. I wouldn’t consider either of those bands funeral doom, though. More like slow death metal.

    1. Lord Mosher of the Solitary Pit

      Catacomb (Ita) – The Return of the Ark 1991

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS_ZFb3zRRI

      I think this is one of the best doom-death EPs of all time! I agree with you on early Paradise Lost their first album and My Dying Bride; even the first Anathema EP is quite good. I remember the term Dark Metal used to refer to Black Metal played very slowly, bands like Bethlehem, and Samael’s second, Barathrum. Catacomb rule though it has really beautiful melodies in their doom death!

    2. Daniel Rodriguez

      I agree. I wasn’t disrespecting Paradise Lost’s early period, although it’s more easy to grasp Lost Paradise than Skepticism as heavy metal, even if the music is slower and the vocals more guttural than usual. The Gothic album however, is when they started falling apart. Songs like Eternal and Shattered seemed like the precursor to stadium metal/goth hybrids like Tiamat or Cemetary, with their next album Shades of God ditching the death metal surface elements and showing more commercial tendencies.

      As for My Dying Bride, their first album wasn’t so bad, but the changes between ‘doom slow’ parts and ‘death metal fast’ parts were abrupt. Songs like The Forever People also drag for a while, repeating parts too often. Turn Loose the Swans is kind of painful to listen to, and I’m not just talking about the nasally vocals. The music lost the cryptic quality of their early EPs which were compiled on Trinity.