The 11th Hour – Burden of Grief (Napalm Records)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

Lots of luminaries from the Dutch metal scene here, but 11th Hour isn’t worth going bananas about – it’s a bit here and there, but nowhere really important. It’s slow doom, not funeral doom, but doom in the traditional Paradise Lost/November’s Doom variety, minus the sterling hooks both bands can routinely pull out of their [doomy] asses.

Fronted by Ed Warby (who usually drums for the likes of Gorefest and Ayreon), the 11th Hour instantly reminds one of The Prophecy, an up-and-coming doom band from the United Kingdom. Warby’s clean vocals sound very much akin to Matt Lawson, of the aforementioned The Prophecy, although methinks Warby has never heard Lawson sing. Just a guess. Nevertheless, Warby does have some haunting moments on “The Silent Grave” and “Origins of Mourning.”

The main sticking point with Burden of Grief is how little it’s willing to grapple. Most doom is ready and willing to help one take that emotional plunge, but here, there’s a pure lack of memorable guitar riffs and arrangements. The long, sometimes obese nature of the six songs don’t help matters either, as labor-intensive jams like “Atonement” fail to resonate.

One can’t fault the 11th Hour for trying, but revisionist bands as this tend to flounder pretty quickly if the material isn’t there. Shame, ‘cause there’s lots of experience in the ranks, but Burden of Grief is mostly a dud

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