Condenados – A Painful Journey into Nihil …   Leave a comment

Want proof that the doom metal scene in Chile is at a peak right now, go no further than listening to the Condenados – ‘A Painful Journey into Nihil’ album. Along with fellow countrymen Procession they are the leading lights in the Chilean doom scene at the moment. This full length album follows a couple of great EP’s and a 3 way split with Electrozombies and Sangria. This has been released on Shadow Kingdom which is a label with impeccable taste so you know this has to be good even before pressing play for the first time. It only has 6 tracks and a 41 minute playing time which is a little disappointing but it is hard to complain when every minute is filled with such a high standard of doom metal. The album starts with ‘Las Puertas de la Catedral’ and yes some of this album is in the Spanish language but it doesn’t effect the overall atmosphere and great vibe this album has. Huge production pumps out the mid-tempo traditional doom complete with thick guitar sounds and powerfully melodic vocals. There is nothing too original here, it is typical trad-doom but it’s of an incredibly high standard.

The following ‘Cargando la Cruz (El Inquisidor)’ has less groove but is even more doom-laden. It is also more epic and dramatic with the song constantly building in atmosphere. There is a tempo change to die for towards the end of the track and I wont give too much away but I hope you have strong neck muscles. ‘Welcome to My Grave’ brings back the feel and groove of the albums opening track. This is also a lot more infectious than the opening two tunes, sounding more like a mid-era Trouble track, this track swings and totally rocks. The guitar work on this album is exceptional, especially with the leads of Fernando “The Wizard” V who has developed into one hell of a musician since this band first formed in 2005. Moving into the albums longest track titled ‘Centuries of Darkness’, they pull all the stops in a monolithic doom monster. Killer guitar work is throughout the song which is a fine balance between rawness and pure class. You will also hear the vocals reaching a peak as he delivers a more diverse vocal performance than what he usually does, I never knew The Wizard was capable of such a vocal range like you hear in this track. ‘Centuries of Darkness’ is the albums centerpiece and a real highlight.

‘The Shadow Within’ is one of those rare songs that repeats a well-used formula but it’s so good, you never really notice it. This is a concise, catchy doom rock song that pounds away at your brain and then ends far too quickly. ‘Final Transmutation’ is the last track and another winner – no real surprises here either, just a great doom-metal track. In conclusion, several things stand out about this album but the main one is the excellent song-writing skills of the band. These songs are made to stand the test of time, they are heavy, sometimes raw but also infectious in their own way. The playing is great without being too flashy, it is more about giving what a song needs instead of showing off or over doing things. Traditional doom can’t be tampered with too much and Condenados obviously know that as they have recorded an album that continues the trad-doom traditions set by Sabbath, Trouble and of course Saint Vitus without messing with what is already, total perfection. This album should be one of the regulars in the play-lists of doom fans everywhere this year. For trad-doom, it doesn’t get much better than this – go get it……………9/10
Condenados @ MySpace
Shadow Kingdom Records

Dr Doom’s Thoughts …
Debut for the Chilean trio and what a way to make an entry! Condenados (condemned in Spanish) return after a crashing EP “La Iniciacion” and the “La Gran Muerte” EP(which I still haven’t listened) ten times better! In “A Painful Journey Into Nihil” the band seems to adopt the most epic side of Saint Vitus, Count Raven and Black Sabbath to create a dark gem of their own. This is perhaps the definition of classic epic doom. Mostly mid-tempo, but filled with crushing guitar riffs…mind-blowing doom riffs baby! Listen to the opener “Las Puertas De La Catedral”! I can only hope the new Saint Vitus will sound as good as this one!

The Spanish lyrics on the first two songs work wonders, giving a more mystical character to the whole thing! The voice has a nice tone but technically moves from excellent to mediocre (on the more demanding songs). I am almost convinced that singing in higher scales would work better in some parts. Oh well, you can’t have it all! You shouldn’t expect something new! This is not the band for that! But hell, this band can write songs! My CD player has stuck in “Centuries of Darkness” track for the past week! All doom fans: Go grab that baby!
Via Dr Dooms Lair

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Posted April 7, 2011 by doommantia in Condenados

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