The Lumberjack Feedback have previously released a couple of promising EP’s (like 2013’s Hand of Glory) and the Lille based bands debut is described as cinematic and epic. It is both of these descriptions but in a different way then I was expecting. When you hear the word cinematic, you think sweeping orchestral movements but The Lumberjack Feedback are a doom metal band so I was just thinking of the wrong films. This is definitely more classic horror than Chariots of Fire.
So this is something a little different for me, doom metal with no vocals. So the big question is going to be have they got enough about the structure, the dynamics and inventiveness to carry this off? It’s actually a big ask, a big ask of themselves.
My approach to reviewing albums in general is that I like to give them a few plays before I even put pen to paper, it helps me form some opinions, get an overall vibe; see what stands out and catches my ear. Basically what images and visions that album can produce. Then I go into each track in more detail. What surprised me with Blackened Visions was that it wasn’t just a background album but there was plenty standing out and catching your ear. The more you listen the more you warm to the subtleties of what is has to offer. It’s definitely a grower (many of the best albums often are).
If I was to play you the opening couple of minutes of “No Cure (for the fools)” you would not know this was going to be an instrumental album, feedback turns into riffs that slowly builds in both tension and complexity. What The Lumberjack Feedback manage to do here though, is keep that tension building and to continue to increase the intensity. It is very doom laden and makes good use of some the 70’s originators of this style, lots long drawn out rhythms with stops and starts designed to build tension and create that atmosphere of doom. A good opener and plenty going on for you to be able to enjoy it.
Title track “Blackened Vision” is an 8-minute epic and was also chosen as the lead single for this album. It’s has a Silent Hill start, creepy and tense. This is accompanied by a sparse guitar to add to the atmosphere which slowly rises in volume. It evokes many images of wastelands, graveyards, one of the strengths of the album is that it is able to paint you a picture in your mind despite it only being instrumental. As the full band kick in, it only intensifies this feeling. Very Black Sabbath in its approach, it really does remind you of old horror films and this is only backed up by the creepy guitars slides half way through the song.
“IMereMortal” brings a new dimension to the doom laden album so far and uses a different approach, which audibly changes your perception of the album, it’s a little less doomy. Its relies a little more on the rhythm and punch of the drums, letting them lead. As the full band kicks the drums are again layered over the top of the production with plenty of use of the crash cymbals. “IMereMortal” keeps the theme of the album going but it’s a little dirtier around the edges.
Salvation on the other hand announces itself likes some demented grunge garage band before taking a surprising twist of going lower with a single guitar and drums using a classic guitar sound (almost Thin Lizzyesque). This gives the band the opportunity to play around with this riff build on it and see where they can take it and to also bring back some of the 70’s doom vibe from the opening tracks. It is produced in such a way that makes it an interesting listen and I particularly like the move up the fretboard into some higher keys. Strong song that actually gets better as it progresses, love the end where all the elements it has built up come in together with a great guitar riff layered over the top.
When I was talking about those initial listens earlier the main track that really stood out for me was “Dra Till Helvete”. There’s so much going on in this song. Right from the banging metallic starts with the heavy bass. It draws you into the atmosphere, again the tension is great and you feel transported into the middle of a horror film. The way they build up their songs works well, it’s a mixture of looping the same rhythms and riffs and then enhancing it again and again to build the atmosphere plus some great guitar riffing.
Final Track “Mah Song (Horses of God)” also stood out. More upbeat than the rest of the album yet still fitting. It ends the album well. I would say that the guitar solo and rhythm combination on this track are definitely my favourite of the album. It dynamic, its emotional its very powerful and takes you to a new hopeful place on the album. Good final chapter in the story. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?
One of the aspects I liked a lot about this album was that thematically it repeats itself at different points in the album and this works well to join it all together and would really work at a loud live show. If anything it is the imagery that they are able to conjure up in your mind in each song and across Blackened Visions as a whole that creates the feeling that they are telling a story, an adventure that has a lot of tension but ultimately turns out well. I Look forward to the next instalment.
Blackened Visions is released worldwide on January 15th, 2016.