“The Coldest Orchestra”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Bereft_The_Coldest_Orchestra.mp3|titles=Bereft: “The Coldest Orchestra”]
In a field as saturated as doom metal, the only way to make a splash is to play heavier and harder than the band before. Bereft — a Los Angeles quartet featuring members of Intronaut, Graviton, Abysmal Dawn, and The Faceless — is clearly pushing ahead with that mentality on its debut album, Leichenhaus. The seven song, 40-minute onslaught has no breaks and no mercy.
“Corpse Flower” ushers in the album in true introductory fashion, announcing each instrument one by one like actors appearing on stage. Ex-The Faceless vocalist Derek Rydquist waits until “Mentality of the Inanimate” to make his awakening, and does not stray too far from what he knows best: low, guttural vocals.
Highlights of the album include “Withered Efflorescence” and “The Coldest Orchestra,” which demonstrate the band’s full range. Layered guitar riffs pummel through the production like a battering ram, whether it be with chord progressions or subtle leads. The group also offers an elementary education in post-rock, which is intertwined between some of the heavier bars of music.
Leichenhaus is a solid addition to any doom fan’s record collection, especially those who wish the genre’s icons would stray from the melodic side of things. The album is dark and devastating, and often sounds like a musical war zone. With many metal-core veterans making the switch to slower music, Bereft may be leading the parade with this hearty debut.