Doom metal is a hard genre to get right. As a sound with such a huge focus on balance – slow, but also fast enough, riffy, but also interesting enough, simple, but also complex enough – it can be incredibly hard at times to get the right mixture between all of these different attributes and create music that is both stimulating and fun. Some bands throw this to the wind and go balls-to-the-wall on one side of the spectrum, as with Orange Goblin’s bluesy riffing, a paragon of simplicity and enjoyment, or with the somber, funereal, apocalyptic dirges of Pallbearer, a band that one would be hard-pressed to refer to as enjoyable, even though they tend to touch all the right spots for an emotionally cathartic doom band.
Most bands try to balance these two aspects into a combination that strikes for both emotional resonance and simple enjoyment, but even then, there’s such a glut of great bands in doom metal that it’s hard to stand out without a gimmick or twist on the classic sound. So, what’s Soon’s twist? Interestingly enough, Soon incorporates a large amount of folk elements into their brand of doom, creating a genre fusion that is both refreshingly unique and enjoyable to listen to.
From the first track, “We Are On Your Side”, forward, it’s clear that on Vol. 1, Soon shows that they know what they’re doing in relation to both of the genres they bring into their sound. Starting off swinging with a chunky, heavy, short riff, the band quickly quiets back down and mellows out with a plodding bassline and textured acoustic guitars, building back into a heavy riff for the chorus. This chorus shows off what is, in fact, one of the best things these guys have going for them: the vocals. Reminiscent in sound to genre mates Moon Tooth, the band’s singer is powerful and resolute, lending a great emotional strength to the instrumentals backing him. The track builds up around him into a gnarly solo and a fantastic resolution, and with this, Vol. 1 is off to an extremely positive start. The other tracks are more choice doom cuts, with a beautiful just-folk interlude, “Mauveine”, coming in before the album’s longest (and penultimate) track, “Datura Stramonium”. The whole album has a jangling energy, a sort of restlessness that keeps everything moving forward through the 30-minutes-and-change runtime, which, although relatively short for a doom metal album, just makes everything here all the more potent and hard-hitting.
Vol 1. is a hefty half-hour of emotionally-charged, riffy, entertaining doom-folk, atmospheric and grandiose; it takes its time to build towards sonically satisfying conclusions, but never at the sacrifice of the record’s momentum. Soon knows how to make a record that is tempered in moderation and tasteful in execution, and any fan of doom metal should check this out for its refreshing, well-paced, smartly-written take on the sound.
Soon – Vol. 1 gets…