"Destroyers of the Faith"

By Earthdog

Chilean Doom Metal trio, Procession have a month to remember with the release of their new album titled "Destroyers Of The Faith" and a show lined up for the "Hammer Of Doom Festival" sharing the same stage as Solitude Aeturnus, Iron Man, Place Of Skulls, Mirror Of Deception and Eternal Elysium to name a few (and if that is not a dream line-up, I don't know what is... why can't we have festivals of that caliber here in the USA?) Procession were formed in 2006 with two members of the great Capilla Ardiente, Felipe Plaza Kutzbach - guitar, vocals and Claudio Botarro Neira on bass, completing this powerhouse line-up is Francisco Aguirre who joined this year on drums. Procession released the incredible "The Cult of Disease" album last year. Well, it's known as a EP but at 46 minutes, it is still an album in my book! That album was accomplished, mature Traditional Doom Metal that was dripping with class but this new album that is about to be released is even slightly better if that's possible. Us Doom Metal fans have really been spoiled this year and the high standards continue with this slab of doom so it is looking like 2010 may be the best year for Doom Metal ever... Well we can argue about that in 3 months time."Destroyers Of The Faith" begins with a short intro but with vocals(!), that you don't hear normally with intro pieces from Doom bands but this is a spectacular opening that creates the vibe and tells you immediately its time to get comfortable and have the beers at the ready because you won't want to miss a second of this. Procession are from the traditional old-school of Doom Metal with Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Black Sabbath(both Ozzy & Dio eras) being obvious influences but rather than simply being clones, they really push the trad-doom traditions to new heights which becomes evident soon after the title track "Destroyers Of The Faith" begins to melt your speakers. The grandiose and sheer quality musicianship is so instantly overwhelming that it makes you think that Procession may just be the most talented musicians that are still mostly unheard of, especially in the USA. Vocalist Felipe Plaza Kutzbach has the perfect voice for trad-doom as it's commanding, emotive but still with enough raw charm to keep it from getting too pompous. The guitar work is equally as enthralling as they combine just the right amount of slow, plodding Sabbathian parts with mid-tempo, head-pounding grooves. 

 "The Road to the Gravegarden" kicks off with one of the most sorrow-filled riffs I have heard in some-time before heading off in a slow-motion groove that is almost mid-tempo but not quite; The fine control the band has over melodies VS hard, slogging riffing is exceptional and "Gravegarden" is a textbook example of how to build and create timeless, well crafted songs that are one huge part doom, one part just fine, classy Hard Rock music. Check out the mid-section break-down for controlled atmospheric, progressive and narrative song-writing . I am not just talking lyrically, musically this is very expressive also. "Gravegarden" also appeared on the "Cult of Disease" album but its re-appearance here is welcome as it sounds even more powerful this time around. "Chants Of The Nameless" follows in fine style providing one of the big highlights. This tune as with the previous "Gravegarden" hovers around the 10 minute mark but the songs are beautifully constructed so they rarely out-stay their welcome. "Chants Of The Nameless" is another emotionally packed journey into darkness with exquisite guitar work and breath-taking, thematically charged vocals. Also worth mentioning is the drumming which seems to get the hits all in the right place at the right time, all precisely placed for maximum heaviness and to expertly accommodate the flawless axe-work.

"Tomb Of Doom" takes you on a weary excursion, again pushing 10 minutes and as the title may suggest, there is not much chance of getting any mid-tempo head nodding going during this monolithic beast. This is a slow feast of churning and ponderous Doom Metal that could be compared to the slower Reverend Bizarre tunes but the Reverend never manage to scale to the emotional heights that Procession seem to do with ease. Despite being a good solid doom-tune, it is the only track on the album that is a bit uneventful . Personally speaking I think it gets a little dull by the second half but its a minor hiccup and I know some doomsters will still be rolling around on the floor in glee to the song. The final track titled "White Coffin" begins with a morbid, eerie intro section before bursting into heavy dramatics with crushing riffs, thundering drums and some beautifully played guitar harmonies that have a Eastern vibe. It builds to a stunning climax and thus ends a magical moment in Doom Metal history from Procession. "Destroyers of The Faith" is a 95% success, but the 5% in weaknesses that I found are really irrelevant as I could easily fall in love with those sections too over time; It's one of those albums you can really float away to, an album that is not only bone-crushingly heavy but also lyrically and melodically majestic. I hate to say this as all you doom-heads have properly got pretty low bank-balances with all the killer doom released this year but this is another one you must pick up, another essential purchase of Doom Metal for 2010. Its due for release on vinyl on High Roller Records and in digi-pak form on Doomentia Records sometime in October 2010. Buy it and be DOOOOOOOOMED......9.5/10