The biggest mistake that any band can make is to stall progress and play it safe. It’s noticeable when a band simply chooses to cash in and make the same record over and over again without any sort of progression, no matter how minor. Typically, these bands end up losing fans over time, largely due to their inability to make their songs sound different from one another. Subterranean Disposition are a doom band that set out to challenge that, experimenting more on their newest release Contagiuum And The Landscapes Of Failure. The question remains though: did they accomplish their goal?
A doom album that has an average song length of 10+ minutes is par for the course, but the key to making a good doom record is to make each of those songs interesting. Time and time again, there have been doom records composed of 4 or 5 tracks of similar length that all sound the same. This is a problem that, unfortunately, arises when listening to this album. While the songs are all different and don’t “flow” from one track to the next the way a concept record would, the songs all eventually end up blending together. Each song contains similar elements within it that set them apart from each track, but these are merely momentary differences. They don’t leave the song with your mind, and it makes each song fairly forgettable despite repeated listens. This could largely be due to trying to experiment too much and focusing less on the song as a whole and instead on individual experimentations within each track.
Doom also has a problem where, if one song is uninteresting, it makes it more difficult to continue listening. When each song is roughly the same BPM, in the same meter and has similar musical structures and patterns, it becomes less of a hobby and more of a chore, a job that could be compared to the movie Office Space. Same stuff, different day; just doing enough to get past the menial everyday tasks until it’s time to punch out and go home before repeating it again the following day. As the listens grow in number, the listener’s attention span begins to dwindle. After a while, one might find themselves focusing on other tasks, or even switching the album off altogether to something more interesting. This is not due to the lack of musicianship or talent, because it is clearly there. However, the band seems to have fallen into a very common trap for young bands, and that’s doing things the way they’ve always been done.
The largest issue taken with this record is the lost potential. Doom is a genre filled with gems, but for every gem there’s about 100 misfires. Doom can only get so interesting, but when you add some form of experimentation, it makes it more intriguing. This record does contain experimentation, as clean vocals purvey each song and the melodies seem more tailored to ambient music than doom music at times. It’s also relatively apparent that the songs on this record were made with a great deal of care, but once again, more thought seemed to be put into each “experimental” moment than the whole song itself, a problem that the album is continuously marred by.
It’s a shame that this album turned out the way it did. One song was, in essence, a good representation of the entire record, in the sense that each song sounds very similar. One song was enough to make me want to listen, but all six songs together do not. The band is still young and has plenty of time to rectify these issues, and this should not be considered a way to deter them from continuing to make music. This should be used as a critique and taken as constructive criticism, because if a band can’t take criticism, then it won’t make the band better. It’ll keep them right where they are, and unfortunately, right now they are in a very precarious spot.