The brilliance of Skepticism’s Stormcrowfleet

A new series of articles in which the writer explains why his tastes in music are so impeccable. The title of the series is a cheap spin on a recurring sketch from the English comedy show The Fast Show.

skepticism-stormcrowfleetThis week I have mostly been listening to…. Skepticism – Stormcrowfleet

Doom divides metalhead opinions. Arguably a lot of it is just regular heavy metal slowed down, so probably doesn’t deserve to be considered a separate entity, and while there isn’t really a definable doom “scene” the music does attract a type of personality and culture that is fatalistic and overly emotional, i.e. not very metal.

Nonetheless, there are at least two bona fide classic metal albums that have come out of doom – Cathedral’s Forest of Equilibrium, and Skepticism’s Stormcrowfleet.

Considered one of the fore-runners of funeral doom (doom played very, very slow), Stormcrowfleet inverts the rock music expectations for predictable, foot-tapping rhythms and offers spacious, atmosphere-heavy music with the rhythmic elements subordinated to the melodic and textural components.

Many doom albums that are near-misses succeed in evoking a morbid, foreboding atmosphere but ultimately fall short because they are music about personality dramas, rather than, as with all the finest metal, music made to mythologicize existence. Stormcrowfleet succeeds because it offers a worldview that is not overwhelmed by external trials, but embraces them and uses them to reframe individual life in the context of something more majestic.

Similarly to Burzum, it creates an experience that is journey-like and transformative, yet vaguely sentimental, although in a way that directs the sentiment towards cosmos, nature, and mysticism. The album as a whole entity doesn’t really arc and conclude as neatly as a Burzum album, but instead it leaves a sense of the thoughts and emotions of the album lingering for a while after it has finished, leaving normal life to seep slowly back in to the room after the experience of the music has finished.

By the healing waters
Of my lovely shores
I laid
The air so bleak
I breathed with my eyes
With my ears
Through aeons went my journey

From these mountains
I swear the world
I am the hammer
I am lightning
By the signs I shall return
To burn all land
Beyond the seas

5 thoughts on “The brilliance of Skepticism’s Stormcrowfleet

  1. I would add Thergothon to that bona fide classics list. The doom influenced death metal of Bolt Thrower and Disembowelment is also very worthy of praise.

    1. What about Asphyx, Infester, Celtic Frost and Obituary?

      1. rob jones says:

        all classics, but all death metal bands that use doom as a technique, rather than bands that’ve come out of the crowd/scene that defines itself as ‘doom’.

        as alluded to, i’m not sure doom is really genre (more a tempo decision…), but there are enough bands that call themselves that to evaluate the what/why/wheres etc of it.

      2. Yep, also awesome, just didn’t want to go on a long list.

  2. Nord says:

    I’ll second Thergothon. Stream from the Heavens is basically Stormcrowfleet on steroids and acid with Antti Boman on vocals!

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