Wednesday 2 December 2020

Fires In The Distance - Echoes From Deep November

Labels: Prosthetic Records

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 18 Sep 2020


1. The Climb

2. Elusive Light

3. The Lock And The Key

4. Reflections In The Ice

5. Chained To The Earth

6. Sundial

This album's cover art has been sitting on my desktop, staring at me for a couple of days now. I didn't want to write a review of this (debut) release from US melodic doom/death band Fires In The Distance until I was in the right frame of mind and tonight is the right time. The album was released via Prosthetic Records (who seem to be signing everyone and releasing everything at the moment) in September. With snow supposedly on the way for us, it seems fitting to burrow into the warmth with something like this.

I don’t listen to enough melodic doom/death, especially any that’s this grandiose. Fires In The Distance are a new band to me and Echoes From Deep November promises a lot. Album opener ‘The Climb’ features gorgeous piano work, heavy but melodic riffs and mournful percussion. The vocals are proper low growls, with the music as a whole sitting somewhere between Moonspell, Omnium Gatherum and maybe Dark Tranquillity. Heady comparisons but it’s definitely more European sounding that American to these ears. The solo and extended instrumental mid-section certainly back that up.

From what was a slightly down-tempo opener, ‘Elusive Light’ dials things up slightly and adds in orchestral flourishes that sit perfectly alongside the modern metal delivered by Fires In The Distance. They’re a really creative band so the doom/death tag should not frighten you off if you’re not familiar with it. It majors on instrumental heft, with vocals that don’t take over but actually complement what’s on offer musically. That’s a hard thing to pull off!

As far as I’m concerned, you can stick all your catchy pop songs and singalong choruses. Riffs that are as catchy as those at the beginning of ‘The Lock And The Key’ are all I need. Add to that the electronica/guitar that follows to create a calming and pleasurable soundstage, and you’ve got yourself a banger, even before you get more than three-minutes in. It’s just so uplifting that you’ll forget you’re listening to extreme metal. The rest of the song is equally as empowering somehow, showing this quartet’s song-writing skill is more than just a fluke.

‘Reflections In The Ice’ teeters between being much more death-like and even more melodic. It’s those two opposites that combine together so well to create a unique body of music that’s missing from the overall heavy music community right now (unless I’m missing something, which I probably am). The longer song lengths that appear on Echoes From Deep November don’t outstay their welcome at all and if you’re someone who likes to invest the time and truly immerse yourself in a record, then this is definitely for you.

The electronica I referred to earlier takes centre stage on ‘Chained To The Earth’ and in turn helps it become a strange collage of goth, dance and extreme metal. That may seem like an unfair summary of this song but it’s close, albeit with music that’s much more intelligent than that description paints it out to be. You’re brought back towards more familiar territory with yet more exemplary lead work and precise kick drumming, so don’t focus too much on what I’ve just said. It’s really pleasing on ear.

Album closer ‘Sundial’ is a condensed version of everything else on this album, playing to the strengths of the musicians once again and galvanising what is already a really strong record from Fires In The Distance. It’s technical, melodic and powerful all in one go. Overall, Echoes From Deep November is a surprise. I wasn’t sure what to expect when hitting play, but like it’s artwork the album is professional, expertly crafted and memorable. I can’t wait to hear what comes from these guys next.

You can stream and purchase Echoes From Deep November on all formats via bandcamp below:-

Fires In The Distance -

Prosthetic Records -

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