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Album Reviews : Illimitable Dolor – Leaden Light

By on May 3, 2019

Illimitable Dolor has been gradually garnering attention in the doom metal world, ever since their formation in 2014 in tribute to Gregg Williamson, former vocalist of The Slow Death. Indeed, the band are in part driven by members of The Slow Death, delivering a slab of death metal-influenced funeral doom in the vein of fellow Aussies Mournful Congregation. Leaden Light was released on March 20, a follow up to their self-titled debut in 2017 that continues to develop their atmospheric-yet-accessible sound.

Opening track ‘Armed He Brings The Dawn’ establishes a wonderful atmosphere through a surprisingly warm guitar tone and absolutely beautiful synths. The use of synthesisers is a standout across the entire album and is remarkable from the first time to the last time. Otherwise, the slow, melancholy (dare I say dolorous?) atmosphere permeates the track as the song builds magnificently. The different harsh vocal styles are used to wonderful effect here, augmenting the gradual emotional changes throughout the entire track. Follow-up track ‘The Soil She Bears’ keeps things interesting by changing up the atmosphere and balancing out the distortion with some beautiful moments of clean guitar and cello toward the middle of the song.

Illimitable Dolor uses songs like this to demonstrate that ‘slow’ doesn’t have to mean boring or lacking in variety, building their songs well to sustain the listener’s interest. ‘Horses Pale and Four’ proves to have more than just a great title, with a very cool, melodic opening that shows off the high production values on the album through a song where all sections complement one another well. The haunting piano intro to ‘Leaden Light Her Coils’ is a nice juxtaposition to previous tracks and builds layers well within the piano parts that are later augmented by the full band entry. This is a really great and emotional track; the drums tie the following acoustic section together well and the main theme of the song is carried through in the harmonic progression creating an effective sense of similarity and contrast. This is yet another song that builds really well and uses different types of harsh vocals to affect that buildup. The Closing solo effectively returns to the main piano theme and gradually drops the layers back down to piano and synth, another really effective use of structure and timbre. Unfortunately, I was unable to listen to the final track ‘2.12.14’ on Bandcamp, but given the quality of the other tracks, I’m inclined to believe that it is another excellent slab of funeral doom, assumedly in tribute to Williamson.

Overall, Leaden Light is a melancholy and emotional experience that has been expertly constructed by some of the best in the genre to the point that it becomes almost meditative. Each song is well positioned to sustain interest through contrast without losing the overall cohesion of the musical experience and remains both heavy and catchy. It’s well worth a look for any fans of funeral doom or doom metal in general and is likely to appeal even to those who are not familiar with the genre.

Band: Illimitable Dolor
Album: Leaden Light
Year: 2019
Genre: Atmospheric Doom Metal
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Origin: Australia

About

Ben is a metalhead originally from Sydney, who has now moved to Hobart to pursue a PhD in Australian extreme metal. When not studying, writing about or playing metal, he can be found playing video games, browsing Reddit, knitting, fending off his cat or helping out at his local church.