|Musical Style: Doom Metal||Produced By: Johan Blomstrom & Faith|
|Record Label: Underground Symphony||Country Of Origin: Sweden|
|Year Released: 2005||Artist Website: Faith|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 51:30|
Renowned as one of Sweden’s first doom metal bands, Faith was founded back in 1984 by guitarist Roger Johansson, vocalist and bassist Christer Nilsson and drummer Peter Svensson. Over the next several years the three, despite a constantly revolving line-up, managed to record two demo tapes (Faith and Insanity) in addition to a two song single entitled Hymn Of The Sinner. Faith went on a seven year hiatus until 1995 when it re-united to put together its third demo, In The 12th Hour, only to again be put on hold indefinitely. The winter of 2002, however, saw Roger, Christer and Peter resurrect Faith once more, this time to record the bands 2003 full length debut Salvation Lies Within before following up two years later with a sophomore effort entitled Sorg.
What Faith brings to the table on Sorg is more doom in no uncertain terms, delivering a trudging but powerful sound combining a down tuned and bass heavy low end with extremely heavy and slower paced riffing. But placing a label of just doom on Faith, however, would not be painting an entirely accurate picture. “Emotional Retard”, “The Day I Died” and “Winter”, for example, are without a doubt doom-laden plodders but reflect the influence of progressive metal as well. (Not to mention showcasing very notable melodies, a fact which proves Faith can write a song that is heavy but memorable at the same time.) “Star Child” and “What Would I Do Without Me?”, on the other hand, combine elements of classic hard rock and doom, while “Skogsraet/Finngalkn” takes a foundation of doom and blends it with aspects of the extreme and progressive. The band even delivers two mostly ambient instrumental pieces in “SoK” and “Star Child Part II”.
The clean and gritty mid-octave ranged vocal style of Christer Nilsson stands in perfect complement to the slower and driving brand of metal characteristic of Faith. The band, however, brought in Johan Schuster to spice up several tracks with his extreme growling. Roger Johansson is responsible for the wall of cataclysmic riffs and rhythm guitar permeating the material here. His lead guitar work, at the same time, helps lend to the confidence the bands exhibits in its instrumental sound, the likes of “The Day I Died”, “Bride Of Christ” and “Skogsraet” standing out with their extended instrumental sections. Peter Svensson combines his forceful work on drums with Christer’s rumbling bass lines to anchor the albums low end. It is also worth pointing out the creative manner in which Faith accentuates its material with several instruments one does not normally associate with the doom genre, including marimbas, ethnic/orchestral percussions, key fiddle, trombone and violin.
Production values come across heavy but clean in reflecting no overriding elements of muddiness.
Lyrics are well conceived in discussing topics ranging from child abuse, the loss of a loved one, the cold war and self-centeredness. “Winter’, on the other hand, is the only song here with a message that might be interpreted as dark or somber. (But, then again, it would not be doom if there were at least one track that comes across on, well, the doom-like side of things!)
The album begins to the immaculate doom epic “Emotional Retard”. Commencing to a blend of keyboards and crashing rhythm guitar, the song slowly plods through its first verse in melancholic fashion before picking up in pace for an emotional chorus resonating an austere but melodic ambience. Schuster furnishes some well timed growling following each chorus starting with the second. Roger contributes a blues flavored guitar solo to a song dealing with the issue of child abuse:
Days of pain, abuse and sorrow,
Formed me into who I am
There’s no past, there’s no tomorrow
There’s no present, there’s no plan
Hurting you is giving pleasure
Showing you what hate all is
Lack of feeling is my treasure
Lips of mine give coldest kiss
“The Day I Died” advances at a more upbeat tempo in comparison to “Emotional Retard” but proves no less notable or inauspicious. Getting underway to a key fiddle that is soon blended with a torrent of driving rhythm guitar, a swarthy atmosphere put in place as the song gradually drags its way to a flowing chorus with a hook of the refuse to go away variety. The bass guitar solo at the start of a sweeping instrumental section gives way to a portent blend of guitar and keyboards. “The Day I Died” talks about the loss of a loved one:
The day I died and you walked away,
That day I died
You let me down and chose not to stay,
The day I died
Still see you, still hear you,
Still feel your presence within
This one is doom all the way but melodic at the same time.
The aptly titled “Winter” opens to a lengthy drum solo before steadily moving forward to a determined guitar riff. The song proceeds to taper off to a near laid back blend of rhythm guitar and organ for its verse portions, not picking up in pace until procuring a catchy chorus giving rise to a message guaranteed to chill you to the bone:
Winter, eternal coldness
Fills my being with ice
Winter, the frost is conquering
This world filled with lies
An abrupt time change is made as “Winter” quickly takes off to an instrumental section carried by a fast paced guitar solo, again decelerating for a passage which, according to the artist, there is no hope:
I’m dying winter has its grip on me
I’m fading nothing else
Can set me free
From the down tuned guitar riffs to its dark and forlorn message, the bluesy “Winter” fits the doom genre like a glove.
“Star Child” reflects the influences of both doom and classic hard rock. The song starts slowly to a toiling guitar riff that gradually builds in momentum, plowing through its verse portions with a plethora of fortitude prior to reaching a chorus advancing at a steadfast, mid-tempo pace. “Star Child” is an older tune that was written during the cold war:
We destroy the human race
Stare at disaster right in its face
Building bombs and feed disease
When widowing nations we feel at ease
Third world war is around the bend
Take it as a fact, my friend
Push the button and we’re gone
A billion wasted years and nowhere to run
The extensive instrumental section introducing “Bride Of Christ” opens to a resounding bass line as the rhythm guitar hammers its way in and out of the mix. Once the rhythm guitar establishes itself hard and heavy, however, the song moves forward furiously while being highlighted by a key fiddle for a few brief moments. Driving through its first verse in trudging fashion, “Bride Of Christ” evenly transitions to a laborious chorus bolstered by an ethereal touch of keyboards. The albums linter notes describe the song as a “true story of a small Swedish community that misuses God to serve their own sick minds”. The lyrics to the first verse, for example, almost come across biting in their capacity:
The Bride of Christ you are you claim
But tell me who is then your father?
Though Satan is your maiden name
You still insist you love your brothers
But take a more positive tone upon reaching its chorus:
In eternity I follow you
I’m your disciple, Bride of Christ
I’ll do anything you tell me to
How I love you, Bride Of Christ
The ambient instrumental “SoK” is shored up its brief distance by marimbas.
“Star Child Part II”, another eclectic piece, slowly progresses to a blend of trombone and ethnic percussions until the rhythm guitar steps forward in a decisive manner after one minute. The song closes by repeating the final verse to “Star Child”.
After “What Would You Do Without Me?” slogs through its first and second verse to a grinding rhythm guitar, drums move to the front of the mix to fortify a caustic chorus focusing on the issue of self-centeredness:
What would I do without me, I’m the only one that really exists
What would I do without me, I’m the only one that’s really been blessed
A haunting blend of keyboards and organ holds sway over an instrumental section fortified by Roger’s bluesy lead guitar work.
“Skogsraet/Finngalkn” is a nine minute, two part doom epic.
“Skogsraet”, part one”, embarks to a two and a half minute long instrumental section highlighted by a blend of acoustic guitar and violin. Following an ominous guitar riff taking over, the song slowly crawls through each of its four verses to Schuster’s growled vocal delivery. The minute long instrumental section that ensues is sustained by more rhythm guitar of a portent variety.
The second part, “Finnglakn”, closes out the songs final three minutes and can best be described as traditional folk music but highlighted by a doom-like rhythm guitar.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Emotional Retard” (8:09), “The Day I Died” (6:48), “Winter” (7:25), “Star Child” (5:02), “Bride Of Christ” (6:15), “SoK” (2:27), “Star Child Part II” (1:29), “What Would I Do Without Me” (4:27), “Skogsraet/Finngalkn” (9:00)
Christer Nilsson – Lead Vocals & Bass
Roger Johansson – Guitars
Pete Svensson – Drums
Johan Blomstrom – Keyboards
Anders Smedenmark – Key Fiddle
Johan Schuster – Growls
Mikael Brorsson - Accordion
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