Last year’s “More Constant than the Gods” was the third album released by American doomsters SubRosa, and it is an incredibly unique and brilliant effort. They have truly found their own niche in the genre of sludge metal. As well as punishing your ears with heavy bluesy riffs, the five piece features two violinists who provide an excellent addition to the atmosphere, really giving the music an extra dimension. Not just used as a gimmick or an add on like some bands out there, the violins are utilised fantastically, taking the lead at points in the music, giving an extra layer to the thick atmosphere in others. Guitarist/vocalist Rebecca Vernon is fantastic on this release, delivering riff after riff of sludgy, crushing brilliance, brilliant leads, and her deep, emotional powerful voice ties the whole thing together, her vocals matching the sludgy heavy sections to perfection, while the softer side of the voice fits excellently with the lovely mellow interludes. The Usher kicks off proceedings with Rebecca’s brilliant voice, dueting with male vocals over the brilliant violins, before kicking off into the riff heaven that follows. Cosey Mo is the most straight forwardly bluesy track on the release, with it’s ripping riffs, while still having the gorgeous violins of the other tracks. Closing track “No safe Harbour” contains piano, flute and harpsichord, creating another incredible track. As with the violins, neither is used as a gimmick, each fits in perfectly.
The album is lyrically excellent too. Love, death, religious mistrust, desperation, the themes of the album are very typical of a doom metal style, but they never feel overwraught, cheesy or unoriginal, rather they are extremely powerful and paint an excellent picture. While lyrics could be taken from any song to prove this point, my favourite example would be from The Usher:
“You’re more constant than the stars, because the change their paths with the seasons.
You’re more constant than the Moon, because she hides her face in the shadows.
You’re more constant than the sun, because one day her embrace will melt the earth.
You’re more constant than the gods. because sometimes when we call, they don’t answer at all.”
Clocking in at sixty seven minutes, and featuring just the six tracks, the album stays consistently intriguing. Every single idea presented is interesting and engaging, at not one point in the album is there a boring interlude, or a hint of filler, it is consistently brilliant, from the opening vocal duet in “The Usher”, to the closing harpsichord melodies of “No Safe Harbour”. More Constant than the Gods is progressive, unique, enigmatic, and simply one of the best doom metal albums of for a long time, and is sure to be remembered as a classic in years to come.