"In the Midst of Life, We Are In Death"

By Dr. Abner Mality

"You'd find more cheer in a graveyard," said Gimli the Dwarf upon seeing the somber city of Edoras in "The Lord of the Rings". He might have been speaking about this debut album from Denmark's Cerekloth. Of course, the album title might also clue you in that we are not dealing with "party" music here.

This is death metal, but with a very doomy pace and somber aura. Death-doom would be a fitting description, but typical doomsters may be wary of the extreme raw growling vocals. I am reminded for the first two brilliant Paradise Lost albums when listening to this. The riffs are lumbering, the guitar sound thick and those vocals recall Nick Holmes at his most grinding. Also, Cerekloth sometimes put clean, minor-key guitar chords on top of the rumbling death, a technique which reminds me of the great Disembowelment, although I must take pains to say these guys are not quite into that realm.

The atmosphere is of marble tombs, grey fog and gnarled branches of dead trees. After hearing some "by the numbers" death metal from Necrocurse and Necrowretch, it's kind of refreshing to hear a band attempting a unique sound. There is some room for improvement, as riffs and songs tend to blur together, but I would say Cerekloth is a strong addition to the doom/death scene and the Danish metal scene overall.