Khatt Al-Raml by Geomancer

Release date: January 15, 2018
Label: Inverted Grim Mill Recordings

Already gathering plaudits from the doom community for their live performances, Geomancer are richly deserving of all they have received so far as this debut album conveys in much measure. Pushing out the boundaries of doom into a post-environment, they take the generic tropes and merge them with a much wider sound. There are still the colossal grinding riffs that the genre is known for, but within that is an urge to take that sound into a wider arena.

‘Grief’ is an early calling card that this band are not afraid to explore new avenues of sound. Built on a solid bedrock of doom, the instrumental sections take on ever more progressive meanderings, as the guitar of Rich Cartey, whose gruff vocals underline all the heaviness on show, takes on a soaring edge. Its incendiary motifs burn a crescent moon through the repetition of the bass (Calum Piercy) and drums (Ruben Guastapaglia), elevating the song to a level not seen often within doom.

After the brief interlude of ‘Visions’ it is down to the slower ‘Greed’ to remind us that deep at heart this band are firmly entrenched in the history of doom. Funeral riffs provide a marching beat through the sludge filled trawl, chugging away as the growled vocals take it ever more heavier. At points it threatens to build up a head of steam before taking you back down to that level of teasing slowness, leaving you in a state of nervous tension.

This tension is relieved by the Eastern touch of ‘Sacrifice’, who’s opening adds a melancholy melody before disappearing into another sludge-fest of grinding riffs. Its length seemingly monolithic from the sheer heaviness of the music, it also ties in the themes of the album cemented by its title Khatt Al-Raml. It is music of the ages, where the riffs become metaphors for the birth of civilisation, whilst the gods of doom watch over. Time becomes fluid, warped by the churning riffs, as Cartey’s vocals become the only constant in the swirling void.

As a debut release, this album will take some beating within the doom genre this year and with it, Geomancer have set themselves out as an exciting prospect. A little more straight edged than some of their contemporaries, there is never-the-less an urge to expand on their palette. That they do this already on this early release shows a confidence in their abilities which will stand them in good stead. They can take their mantle alongside other luminaries of the genre, and we wait with baited breath to see where they go from here. An excellent debut release.

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