Bereft (4) ‎– Lands

Prosthetic Records ‎– PROS1029??
Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Blood Red


1 We Wept 12:58
2 The Ritual
3 In Filth 8:51
4 Waning Light


300 copies pressed worldwide on Blood Red vinyl.

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May 4, 2017
edited 7 months ago

Released on March 25, 'Lands' is the second studio album from Madison, Wisconsin-based blackened doom stalwarts, Bereft. It's a brutal mix of doom and black metal with post-rock qualities, and it's also one of the best metal releases of the first quarter of 2017.

When bands tend to mix genres like black metal and doom, there's usually one style, at least, that really gets back-burnered. Personally, my experience shows that it's typically the black metal aspects that see this fate. To fans, this can be frustrating, albeit pretty understandable since it's not an easy job creating BM vocals, riffing, blast beats and the sub-genre's unique aesthetic that all really gel with the slow-pace that comes from doom's sludgy, creeping assault.

That said, these fuckin' guys are one of the few (ie: Inter Arma is another example) that genuinely pull it off. While the album may only be 4 tracks long, each cut tells its own, complete story. From soaring, elongated notes that reach high to the metal Gods to the despairing sludge that is leaving you wishing for a quick death even when you know it's not coming, 'Lands," from beginning-to-end, is a beautifully orchestrated journey through a monstrously epic auditory landscape.

In addition to its heart-pounding rhythm section and finely-crafted lyrical output, Bereft's two axe-men are the ones that contribute to 'Lands' on the mic with a delivery of at least three distinct vocal styles over the duration of the record. Having the dual attack allows for 'Lands' to boast a diversity in its vocal approach that includes efforts on both the clean and more extreme side of metal vocals. This strategy could easily make the album seem disjointed when taken as a whole piece of work, but Bereft blend it with the skill, intensity and confidence of a seasoned vet.
(For reference, my personal taste is that I'm typically not a big fan of clean vocals on these types of records - even when I love the instrumentation (ie: Pallbearer). The parts where Bereft uses clean vocals, however, are performed as more of a chant-like atmosphere builder. Think of it as more of a funeral-doom clean vocal approach, if you will (ie: Bell Witch).)

As far as newer, up-and-coming bands are concerned - Bereft needs to be on anyone's radar who loves metal or even simply are fans of the darker beauty of heavy music. I haven't been this excited about a new band since I heard Batushka's criminally slept-on late-2015 masterpiece 'Litourgia,' and if, 'Lands,' Bereft's Prothetic Records debut, is any inclination of what's to come, it's going to be one hell of a trip from the outer reaches of space to the deepest, darkest and desolate valleys. I will most definitely be along for the ride, and as long as this music is heard by others, I'll be in good company.