Void of Silence – ‘The Grave of Civilization’, Code666/Aural Music; 2010

Marking six years since their previous effort, Italian atmospheric doom outfit Void Of Silence return to the metal scene with their fourth LP ‘The Grave of Civilization‘. Enlisting the vocals of new member Brooke Johnson this time around, what is recorded here comes across as an even balance between crushing doom and hypnotic ambience; coupled with moments of spacey distortion and synth.

Opener ‘Prelude to the death of hope‘ seems to exemplify this mix well, though it’s really with lengthier songs such as ‘Apt Epitaph‘ and ‘None shall Mourn‘ that an atmosphere of overwhelming dismay and hollowed cries is truly felt. Johnson’s own voice may have been manipulated for the echoing effect that it’s been given on this album; yet what’s left intact remains a thoughtful, weighty performance that shows a growing emotional distance from the surroundings of the music.

In turn, it seems clear that his bandmates had intended for nothing on the release to be done without a thorough purpose – including the choice of a supposedly obscure instrument like the shinai for closing number ‘Empty Echo‘. At times it feels as if – due in part to the postmodernity of today’s society – that the incorporation of traditionally Eastern sounds in European metal tends to be done without any meaning behind them. However, going by the self-descriptive name of the song in question; it looks to be that for Void of Silence merely throwing various tunes together just to seem different is simply not cricket. A well-crafted album, indeed.

7/10

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