The Sabbathian – Latum Alterum

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label URL: Svart Records
Released: 2019
Buy Album: https://www.svartrecords.com/product/latum-alterum/
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/thesabbathianband/

Band line-up:

Chad Davis – Guitars/bass/drums/vocals
Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen – Vocals
Joey Downs – Guitars/bass

Tracklisting:

1.) Requiem… (Intro)
2.) The Brightest Light
3.) Liti Kjersti
4.) Head of a Traitor
5.) One Night of Cruelty
6.) Embrace the Dark
7.) Evig Hvile / Libera me… (Outro)

Review:

The Sabbathian are among that curious breed of band: international. Chad Davis (of Hour of 13) and Joey Downs handle the instrumentation from the USA, while vocals are done by Norway’s Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen.

The name gives an immediate clue as to their doom roots. Latum Alterum is pounding and ponderous, setting up drearily hypnotic rhythms and letting you sink into them and their dark worlds.

Perhaps most striking are Gulbrandsen’s vocals, which have an accomplished haunting, ghostly quality to them. They’re often front and centre, with the instruments a deliberately distant and fuzzy backdrop. This all combines to give the songs a tangible ethereal quality, like the band is marching slowly towards you down a stone passageway. “Evig Hvile” perhaps best illustrates this, ramping this otherworldly quality up to 11 and focusing on that.

Among the other tracks, “Head of a Traitor” has a deliciously classic doom approach. It sets up a solid riff over simple but effective drumming, and layers those chilling vocals on top. The effect immediately sucks the listener in and gets them sombrely headbanging along. The song is 9 minutes long, but it’s a testament to how effective it is that it doesn’t feel like it at all, mesmerising you so smoothly.

A lot of the album works in this same way: it doesn’t focus on especially complex riffs or compositions. Instead, each song finds the pace it wants and sticks to it, pulling you along for the ride. “Embrace the Dark” does break from this a little, bringing out the band’s inner Pentagram as the riff work gets a bit more dynamic and the vocals stray into classic Ozzy territory. The latter half even picks up the pace a bit to get more of a stomp going.

Personally, I do prefer my doom a bit more dynamic and varied, but that is purely personal preference rather than a criticism. Sabbathian are going for very immersive old-school doom, and they do that very well.

Review by:

Kieron Hayes

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