Anyone with even a passing interest in Doom metal will be familiar with the name of Robert Lowe. From his early days in Solitude Aeturnus, through to Concept of God, the legendary Candlemass, and more recently Tyrant; he has always impressed with his unique and instantly recognisable vocal delivery. Back in 2019, he joined up with drummer Brad Miller (Among the Serpents) and guitarist/bassist Matt Johnson (Signs of Reign) to release the critically acclaimed EP “From Dissension to Avowal”. Thankfully the guys have now returned, with what may be my doom album of the year, and their first full-length album “En Delirium”. It features 9 tracks of crushingly heavy epic doom songs very much in a similar vein to bands such as Candlemass, Black Sabbath, Crypt Sermon, Doomshine, Below, etc…
As soon as the first riff sets in it’s clear that this is something special. Matt’s down-tuned guitar sounds huge as the band kicks off with “Corridors”. The songwriting on the album revolves around guitar riffs that even the great Tony Iommi would be proud of. Mr. Johnson also does a great job on the bass throughout the album. His inventive bass lines, prominent in the mix, weave in and out of the songs, not just following the guitar parts. Rob’s vocals float above the doomy sound-scape and unsurprisingly sound as amazing as ever. While some of his contemporaries seem to be struggling vocally as they get older Rob actually seems to be improving as time goes on. He’s still hitting those high notes with ease.
Even though most of the songs have a mid-paced feel “Our Poisonous Ways” breaks the mould being a more up-tempo number. The galloping rhythm is sure to make this a live favourite. I can hear an Iron Maiden influence in the triplet guitar licks throughout this track. Indeed there’s quite a bit of traditional metal influence that should please most old-school metal fans. While some albums have one or two stand-out tracks that overshadow the rest this isn’t the case on “En Delirium”. It’s difficult to pick favourite tracks as they are all of such a high quality but if I had to “The Letting Go” would probably be up there. It’s another faster song but it’s the vocals that really steal the show. It features a mix of Rob’s higher range and another lower vocal that sounds a bit like Mats Leven but is more likely to be Rob accompanying himself. There’s some great Sabbath-sounding riffs on this one too.
Lyrically the focus seems to be on introspection. In a recent interview, Brad stated: “The new album really focuses lyrically on the demons within one’s self. And how the mind can be your own worst enemy, but can also be your greatest saviour”. This viewpoint is also carried over into the artwork as Brad explained: “The cover really represents the journey into the mind. You can see the man walking out of the cemetery, up the stairs into his own mind. To fight his demons and bring himself peace, so that when it’s his time to die. He will be completely free”.
If you’re a fan of Epic Doom Metal then this album is a must-have. Let’s hope this debut is the start of a long career for Grief Collector and we see more releases in the future. “En Delirium” is available on both a 2-disc CD (the first E.P has been generously included) and also on vinyl. The CD also includes 2 bonus tracks.
“En Delirium” is available now through Petrichor, more information, here.
Reviewer – Martin Patterson