|Review: Penance - Spiritualnatural|
Label: Martyr Music Group
Year released: 2003
Genre: Doom Metal
Review online: January 24, 2004
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)
Well this is probably the album I can qualify the most as a grower for me in recent memory (my memory sucks, so it doesn't go that far back...:)) At first I really didn't like this, but after 4-5 listens I started "getting it" and now I can see the genius at work here. Less straightforward than its predecessor "Alpha & Omega", "Spiritualnatural" still marries a "relaxed" doom sound with 70s classic rock, coming out even a bit more early Black Sabbath-ish this time around, but also pushing the weird factor a couple of steps further, with tracks like "All Is Vanity" (definitely the one that comes out as "weird" on this album - it stands out by being so different from the rest in music and atmosphere), or "Iron Curtain Blues" which is more or less sounding like it was strongly inspired by Eastern European folklore. I found this one to be a bit annoying at first, but it grew on me. There's even some bagpipes on "The River Ara" always an attention- catcher. To Penance's usual heaviness, this album also adds a good number of acoustic passages (that personally took some time getting used to.) A good musical variety with new elements without compromising their own sound, this is how all bands should evolve. Some bands out there should follow Penance's example.
Just as in "Alpha & Omega", the last track has an annoying silence blablablabla you know my usual rant about these things. There's about one minute of silence followed by what sounds like a German version of "La Bamba"! I have to at least appreciate the humour here. Great album (no need to get more verbose.) Buy Buy Buy. Note that I had a bit of difficulty finding this one at my usual online mail order stores, so don't be surprised if you have to dig a little bit to find it (it's worth the effort.)
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