Burden is the debut album from this doom metal four piece hailing from Belgium. While they fundamentally stand on the heavier end of trad-doom, they add touches of black metal and sludge in a moody, heavy yet still accessible album.
A dull ambient intro with typical horror samples plays up to the sort of stereotype one might expect from such an artist name and that rather terrible album cover, but these preconceptions get left behind soon after Bloodletting, the first of the three tracks proper, kicks in. A melodic doomy riff starts things off: sludgy with a hint of an eerie melody, but it’s the vocals that really grab you. PH snarls like Venom’s Cronos, a slow gruff bark up front in the mix, aggressively shouting pissed off lyrics over simplistic riffs that stomp along with a great headbang-able rhythm. The general guitar tone isn’t monolithic, but distorted and meaty enough for the doomy riffage. A slow trad-doom solo weaves along through the middle of the track and completes the eerie doomy vibe. They have a sound that’s both heavy yet accessible, and those aggressive vocals are perfect. The bass through the album isn’t as audible as it could be a lot of the time, but it’s the guitars that go about creating the moody atmosphere that Burden is all about so one doesn’t miss it’s lack of impact on the album like one would with a lot of doom. Lamentation is much more gloomy, the riffs dragging with a leaden weight rather than stomping along as in the previous track, the morose interlude with the sullen guitars drags the mood down further still, before the sludge returns with a great tremolo picked riff. The longest and final track Remembering Treasures also has great variety, showcasing sections of blastbeat fueled black metal, slow trad-doom riffs that wouldnt be out of place on Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, and filthy death-doom riffs that remind of the slower parts of the Autopsy ouvre over it’s twelve minute length.
Doom fans will find a lot to enjoy here, the simplistic riffs and gruff vocals work really well, but the gloomy atmosphere they weave is much more than the sum of it’s parts. But it’s accessible enough that it should appeal to most metal fans, whether you prefer Cathedral, Indian or Venom.