“Leave your present time
Leave your flesh
Leave your life”
One of my favourite albums, Tears Laid in Earth is a beautiful atmospheric doom metal album. Released in 1994, it was one of the first metal albums to feature female vocals, outside of the standard 80’s heavy metal style. As such this album pre-dates the large female fronted metal scene which came out in its wake. However, despite being a huge influence on more famous bands such as Nightwish and The Gathering, they haven’t quite gotten as much recognition as they deserve.
While it is predominantly a Doom Metal album, they certainly aren’t a band heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, they don’t go in for the straight forward heavy riff approach. Despite the band having three guitarists, they tend to focus more on creating soundscapes and atmosphere. While there are heavier riffs throughout the album they aren’t there to be crushing or pounding, they serve to add an air of melancholy to the music. There are also excellent lead pieces throughout the album, especially on Trial of Past, as well as clean guitar parts with delay effects giving a soundscapey effect. It’s also incredibly melodic, with all the riffs and lead parts being very memorable. The drumming needs mention as well, it’s very energetic and engaging, adding to the heavier parts. The vocalist Kari Rueslåtten has a soft beautiful voice with a folk-y quality to it, especially in the intro song, with her singing in her native Norwegian. Her voices matches the album perfectly, her folky style fitting in well with the mellow atmosphere; her voice is very dreamy, adding to the very ethereal atmosphere created on this album. She also plays synths on Shaman and Song, which adds another dimension to the music, especially Song, which is one of the more beautiful tracks on the album, especially with the guitar solo at the end. The interplay of all these elements makes for a very interesting atmosphere, its hard to describe other than sounding mysterious and ethereal. It’s melancholic, like being lost in a dark, misty forest in the night time, but entirely magical at the same time. It has an incredibly dreamy sound to it, while being beautifully dark.
Even despite its age, and the wealth of albums which have since been influenced by it, the music here still sounds incredible fresh and unique, no one has made anything quite like it since. Even at over an hour long it remains constantly interesting, every single idea is well thought out, especially in the closer, the epic 18 minute “Oceana”, which is incredibly beautiful. There’s no boring riff, superfluous filler, or anything at all which detracts from the incredible music throughout. They really captured some special magic while recording this, and it’s one of the best atmospheric metal albums ever made. It’s incredibly hard to describe in terms of the parts that make it up, it’s more than the sum of its parts and simply a completely beautiful, experimental and unique whole.
Listen to Death Hymn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL3-2XUYh-c