The Drowning are easily one of the best death doom bands the UK has produced since the early days of the Peaceville three. Along with contemporaries such as My Silent Wake, Tor Marrock, and Ghast they have been keeping the fire of Welsh extreme metal burning bright amidst the gloam. Now 2016 sees the Cardiff lads return with a new vocalist in the form of Matt Small and a new album to put their name on the map.
'Senescent Signs' is an impressive blend of dark doom and death doom that recalls the likes of Paradise Lost, Anathema, My Dying Bride, and The Blood Divine. Both hauntingly melodic and savagely brutal the band's musicianship is pushed to the extremes. Small's vocals fit like a glove and the band sound as tight as they ever have.
Songs such as 'Broken Before The Throne', 'Betrayed By God', 'House Of The Tragic Poet', 'When Shadows Fall', and 'The Lament Of Faustus' are prime examples of the strongest song-writing in the band's discography to date with great riffs, beautiful keyboard embellishments, and heavy but sing-a-long vocals coming together to create a varied sprawling vision.
The songs tend to be around the ten-minute mark in length which makes them a weighty listening experience. But the band are quite adept at holding the listener's attention and changing things up where they need to.
In terms of production the songs sound great. The bottom end is nice and thick and the vocals sit correctly in the mix no matter what style brings to the table. It's a straight-forward, no-nonsense and solid presentation that shows the band at their best.
The Drowning are a band whose name should carry more weight than it does, and hopefully this will be an album that sees their stock increase. Despite having a new vocalist, there is no sense of the band feeling things out here. They have gone in strong and executed a great selection of tracks that will appeal to any doom metal fan.