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Review: Penance - Alpha & Omega
Alpha & Omega

Label: Martyr Music Group
Year released: 2001
Duration: 53:52
Tracks: 10
Genre: Doom Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: December 13, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Alpha & Omega

Rated 4/5 (80%) (5 Votes)

Here's a band that I first came across at the Classic Metal Festival back in 2002 - in fact to me they were one of the surprises of the fest. I wanted to review this album over a year ago, but somehow it got lost into another pile of CDs and I had to move to finally find where the hell it had ended up (right under my nose, of course...) :)

The band plays Doom Metal that seems to get its root in 70s metal - especially Black Sabbath. In fact, I remember when I saw them live that I could not help but associate their sound to the mighty Sabbath. The similarities are not as obvious on CD as they were live, but still the guitars remind me of Sabbath's style - to some extent anyway. Sabbath clone they aren't, however, as the songwriting and the sound are definitely more "modern" (for lack of a better word.)

Heavy and doomy but not too much, this album might be of interest to some people who are usually turned off by some doom bands that are too depressing for their taste. The overall depressing "the-world-sits-on-my-shoulders" feel often associated with doom metal is still present, but bearable. That said, there are still a couple of songs that fit the usual profile and might make you want to jump off a cliff or something. :) There isn't much to bitch about on this album, the musicians and the vocalist clearly showcasing a well-tuned outfit (and damn, some of the guitar solos are simply bewitching.) And contrary to my habit, I didn't have to make much effort to notice the bass playing on this album, and that's some damn fine bass playing at that. I don't know if they just happen to put the bass forward in this band, or if former Novembers Doom bassist Mary Bielich simply kicks ass, or both, but the end result is worth mentioning. But hey, I still gotta whine about something: The last track is part silence, part talking (and not interesting chat either), pretty much a waste of time - but thankfully short at a little over 3 minutes. Other than that, a very good doom album from a band that should be better known. Recommended.

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