Thursday, 12 July 2018

Ward - Downfalls


Labels: Ramekuukkeli-Levyt
Formats: Tape
Release Date - 19 Apr 2018

Tracklist:

1. Waves
2. Singularity
3. Dominion
4. Every Day The Hard Way
5. The Valued Things
6. New Problems

The sun may have nearly disappeared from our skies over Britain but the heat is no less oppressive, which makes it the perfect atmosphere for this recently released slab of heavy Finnish doom metal. It was released earlier this year via Ramekuukkeli-Levyt on limited tape. Ward is a quartet and they formed in 2005, before releasing two splits with Havitys and True Lords Of Vatican, in 2011 and 2012 respectively. Their full-length arrived just over a year later. There's not much else I can say about Ward, apart from that one of their members used to play in Sink and plays in Abbot.

Ward’s doom is thick and heavy. It sounds so at home on tape, with a warm fuzz to the recording. The tempo on Waves is slow and the vocals are delivered as a deep rasping growl with English lyrics. The further you get into this opening song’s 10+ minutes the easier it is to get lost within it’s strangely addictive melodies and humming, throbbing bass tones. It ends with alarming levels of droning feedback before Ward take a very short breather. Singularity comes into view soon after and it immediately picks up the tone from the tape’s opener. There are long passages without vocals and crushing riffs that have to be heard. Sometimes it’s more like funeral doom but other times there are post-metal textures and calmer doom elements flowing through it. It’s certainly not a straightforward listen though.

The b-side begins with Dominion, which straight away reveals more of the lovely analogue warmth that can only come from tapes. It’s raw in nature and the vocals here remind me of the heavier aspects of bands like Dark Tranquility and Hamferd in some ways (and yes, I appreciate that neither of those bands are from Finland). The song is more than just about those comparisons though, as it’s melody peers through the riffs to create something that’s extremely listenable. Ward takes on a thrashier form with Every Day The Hard Way, which could be mistaken for a youth crew hardcore song-title. It’s tempo and energy is surprising and adds a lot to the album. 

The previous song seems to break up the misery that is intertwined within the record and it’s not long before The Valued Things is dragging you back down again. It’s one of those songs that hammers itself into your head and leaves you paralysed to the spot. Closing song New Problems isn’t any better (in a good way) but it does contain some nice technical drumming. There’s also more in the way of technicality in the guitar work, which heads more into experimental stoner territory for brief moments in time. This record is perfect for the tape format and Ward plays doom music that’s sympathetic to the genre’s early days while still being heavy. Great stuff.

You can stream both Waves and Singularity via bandcamp below. Both songs are also available to purchase digitally too:-




Physical tapes can be purchased from Ramekuukkeli-Levyt here - http://ramekuukkeli.nettisivu.org/

Ramekuukkeli-Levyt - https://www.facebook.com/Rämekuukkeli-levyt

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