Majestic Downfall – Waters of Fate (Solitude Productions)

Tuesday, 18th December 2018
Rating: 8.5/10

Transplanting to Mexico from Dallas, Texas origins, Majestic Downfall since their inception in 2006 play an epic brand of death/doom. They’ve been featured on a couple of split releases beyond their four full-lengths to date – now issuing a fifth record for Waters of Fate. A one-man act for former Antiqua bassist Jacobo Córdova, it’s quite an undertaking to write and record all the instruments for this type of music – as it incorporates layers of atmosphere in terms of the guitars, bass, and keyboards beyond the drums and vocals. Especially considering outside of the sparse “Spore” instrumental at 2:16, the other four songs span eleven to thirteen plus minutes of information to process and consume.

Jacobo has a firm grasp of building out the proper guitar hooks and slow, churning riff sequences by enhancing key melodic refrains or subtle, dreary growls to submerge the listener into this hypnotic doom sway. It’s slightly funeral in presentation yet holding onto the tenets of classic doom – the feel of early Anathema and Paradise Lost against some epic aspects of say Primordial penetrating the cultural rhythm guitar hooks within the title track, his vocals containing that Dan Swanö-esque discernible growl in measured doses as minor distant effects create an even more haunting effect (the surprise snare blast beat around 5:07 giving the arrangement that dynamic uplift). He’s not afraid to drop out all extraneous instrumentation and become conscious of bare-bones guitar/drum sequences to heighten atmospheric awareness – the layers of harmonies against a clean, almost bell-like sequence during sections of “Contagious Symmetry” driving home the cold, blistering day as some Sabbath-like fill flurries provide energetic contrast. At five songs and 52 minutes, Waters of Fate possesses just enough material to digest, while standing firm to avoid the tedious barometer that can often take place in a doom/death record.

Majestic Downfall live up to their moniker – long and epic arrangements filled with the darkness and despair you’ve come to expect in the genre, and yet enough melodic sequences as to catch attention for return engagements.

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