Sorrowful Land – Faded Anchors of the Past (Black Lion Records)Wednesday, 1st February 2023
The mastermind behind doom/death metal act Sorrowful Land is Max Molodtsov – handling all the instrumentation while sharing vocal duties with a few guests for this third full-length, the aptly titled Faded Anchors of the Past. Active since 2014, these eight tracks explore the somber realms of epic despair, heavy riffs of splendor drenched in darkness with occasional lighter, tranquil passages to set the next movement appropriately.
Much like the foggy, cloud-covered ship staring at eyeballs from the Daniele Gay cover art, the musical components stir those empty, deep seeded emotions into the lyrical turmoil of nightmares, ghostly visions haunting the mind, inner demons seeking refuge to successfully relinquish the past into a better present day. Fellow underground musicians from acts like Doomed, Hadriel, Desolator, Soliloquium, and A Dream of Poe lend their unique voices – providing clean melodies or growling diversity that carry songs like “Small Lost Moments” or “As Long As We Breathe” to spine-tingling, hair-raising aural ecstasy. Max has a chameleon-like penetration to his vocal delivery as well – measured, dripping in sorrow, grief, yet thoughtful when need be in narrative, poignant spaces throughout the almost eleven-minute epic “As I Behold Them Once Again”, the emotive twin guitar harmony spots elegant against the plodding doom/death main hooks. Slower tempos can be even slower within “The Night Is Darkening Around Me” – Max’s use of holding guitar chords/melodies to their last drop inducing chills, the semi-galloping twists during the instrumental sequences towards the latter part of the arrangement along with a distant narrative thoughtful and engaging.
Names like Evoken and My Dying Bride come up as obvious influences for Sorrowful Land to base their sound and outlook upon. Faded Anchors of the Past may not necessarily eclipse the work of Max’s mentors – but it’s an hour-long adventure in doom/death that carries tremendous weight for those seeking out more epic tracks in a gloomy world.