Doom metal and heavy metal have a ton of intersection. They’ve always had it but it seems to be escalating as the traditional metal revival movement continues to refurbish and remake a lot of the ideas and sounds that first made up metal. This is probably because doom and heavy metal are two of the longest running styles; they both understandable appeal for anyone who’s looking to define what makes traditional metal well, traditional. What this means is that you’ll often see elements from heavy metal creep up inside of doom metal and vice verse; echoing chords might suddenly appear in a faster, more riff-centric album or, as in the case of A Flock Named Murder, blistering solos best defined inside heavy metal and rock n’ roll might suddenly appear.
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On the aforementioned band’s latest release, An Appointed Time, the solos take center stage. While “Elusive Nature” for example, the opening track on the album, is over fourteen minutes of throaty vocals, slow moving walls of feedback, and cymbal heavy drumming, it also features incredible licks and shreds that you’d expect from a band much faster moving than this. It works perfectly; the vintage tones of the solo blend well with the death-tinged doom on display on the rest of the track. On the album level, these excursions into guitar virtuosity is well-spaced, meaning that you don’t tire of it too quickly. It always comes as a surprise when the guitar suddenly soars through the mix to take center stage, sending off shreds and ideas that might befit Steve Vai or Wishbone Ash.
Nor is this a gimmick band; there’s plenty else to draw you to An Appointed Time. There are down-right groove metal influenced sections on that first track, which make us think of Gojira of all things. Elsewhere, the blackened moniker takes over, creating blistering, acidic tracks that double down on the already present grandiosity with tremolo-fast riffs and blast-beats. But what will echo through your ears as the album ends is that very specific, very hard to create feeling of classic metal; everything on display here just blends into this feeling that you only get when listening to really well made and passionate metal. Can that be a genre? It is now and A Flocked Named Murder pull it off to a fascinating degree.