It's not often I get to review some doom metal here on Needs More Noise Gate, and now that I get to, I'm excited because I've always been a fan of the classic '70s doom sounds of Black Sabbath, Pentagram and the like. Over recent years, doom has expanded and included drone, stoner, and gothic metal/ rock stylings (among other genres). While I'm a big fan of stoner doom (a la Electric motherfucking Wizard) and I enjoy a bit of drone doom here and there (a la Sunn O)))), I've never really taken to any other of the sub-genres. I've got an open invitation for any bands to change my mind, and so far none have. Enter Sorrows Path.
Sorrows Path hails from Greece, and they've been around for almost twenty years now (November 2013 would mark their anniversary). They've toured and gigged around for many, many years and they released their first full length in 2006 entitled Ressurection. Their newest album, The Rough Path of Nihilism is their latest offering from 2010, and they have plans to release another album sometime this year.
These dudes play a style of doom that I'm pretty unfamiliar with. To me it sounds like a mash-up of classic '70s inspired doom and small bouts of Dream Theater progginess. Think Pentagram riffs, James LaBrie vocals, odd time signatures, and over-the-top theatrics. It's charismatic, but still sullen and dark, which makes for an interesting combination that I don't think I've ever really heard before. I'm still on the fence about how I feel about their sound as a whole, because while there are definitely some great moments on The Rough Path, I find a lot of it eye-rollingly cheesy.
This isn't cheesy in the sense that Cannibal Corpse lyrics almost mock themselves in how crude they are, but cheesy in the sense that Sorrows Path sounds like they're trying too hard to be dark in the same way a 12 year old Slipknot fan acts and thinks that he's the toughest shit in the world. I apologize to Sorrows Path and their fans. No band should ever be compared to pre-teen nu metal fans. That's just plain mean and I'm sorry, but I digress. Underwhelming lyrics and bombastic vocal performances like something out of DragonForce or Sabaton really drive home a really heavy goth feeling for me, and it's one that I'm not terribly impressed with.
The music is, for the most part, pretty enjoyable on The Rough Path. They've nailed a solid modern doom sound with the heavy and mid-to-slow paced riffs and beats, tossing in some twisty curveballs your way in the form of unexpected proggy riffs and the occasional set of strings or synth. While the use of strings are nothing new in metal, they add to the sound nicely when they're used behind the band, but they only further the cheese when they're brought to the foreground.
The vocals, as I said, are very bombastic. They soar above everything else whenever they come into the mix, which isn't a bad thing in itself. Vocalist Angelos' tone makes him sound like he should be fronting a power metal or NWoBHM band rather than a doom one. Unfortunately, whenever he goes to hit his high notes, he either really sounds like he's stuggling and his vocals lose their oomph, or he just fails to hit them entirely. The verses of the album opener "All Love is Lost" are almost painful for me to get through, and there are a few other cringeworthy moments on the album as well. Angelos hits his low and mid pitches notes perfectly, but it's just those tricky upper register ones that I find he has trouble with.
On a Playlist With: The darker Dream Theater material, Lacuna Coil
The Rough Path of Nihilism has it's flaws. It indulges in itself a little too often and there are some rough patches with some of the vocal work, but in the end, it's not an awful album. I can see any fan of gothic music or anyone who even takes to more theatrical side of power metal finding a lot of enjoyment out of Sorrows Path, but unfortunately I'm not one of those people. Essentially, I wouldn't rush to see these guys play live, but I probably wouldn't turn their music off if it came on the radio.
The Rough Path of Nihilism is out on Rock It Up Records. If you're interested, you can check out Sorrows Path on Facebook, MySpace, or their personal website.
That's all for now, folks!