September is kind of a transitional month. Depending on where you live, it usually marks the death of summer and the rejuvenation of winter. It’s the time of the year where dull, earthy shades begin to slowly dominate everything, making summer days look like a distant memory. And while the rapturous nature takes it time to ensure the transition happens the smoothest way possible, there comes FAMYNE to shove winter down your throat.
FAMYNE is a doom metal quintet from the UK and in case you’ve missed it, we’ve got some pretty solid releases from that part of the world this year so far.
Having released an EP about three years ago, it was high time for their debut album, “Famyne”. A glimpse at the cover (made by Vergvoktre) should set your expectations straight. With no logo or title to be found, only the sinister figure floating in the sky is left to warn you about the ominous storm that’s about to break out.
People say you simple can’t stand on two boats, but the band seems to have no issue with this. They’ve done an excellent job in retaining the traditional/epic doom metal elements of their earlier works, while the addition of some hard/prog rock touches (e.g. “Dreamweaver”) along with the introduction of a few stringed instruments (listen to the violin, cello & viola in “Ghosts”) mark a slight shift in the overall musical direction. Thankfully, without altering the band’s character. Also, with “Famyne”, instead of primarily relying on heavy riffage, the band seems to have focused more on making other things stand out, like the vocals, the soundscape ambience and the overall sound textures.
Mr. Tom Vane’s vocals strike a difference compared to your typical doom metal release and they mingle perfectly with the guitar work mr. Alex Tolson brings to the table. Vocals throughout the album are crisp, clear and concise, oftenly layered, they start from the lower-mid spectrum and have the leading role in almost every song; just listen to “Ghosts” and you’ll figure out the why and how. They kinda reminded me a bit of the way Layne Staley (ALICE IN CHAINS, MAD SEASON) used to sing; the Metal Gods are surely watching me as I type these lines. People familiar with TEFRA (doom metal, UK) might also spot a slight reference to the vocals as well. The guitar tone is warm and has that vintage feeling you usually find in older productions. The overall guitar work follows a simple [but to the point] approach, while the drum and bass provide the much needed solid ground for everything else to flourish.
What I really liked about the album is it’s not only about riffage. I loved the way songs build up and the way the music transitions into different themes. So, there will be times you’ll find yourself listening to something holding a resemblance to a dirge or a lullaby, only to be “thrown” into some pretty heavy and rad doom metal guitar riffs. Something else I’d like to mention at this point is the effort that’s put into making the song/album flow as seamless as possible. There wasn’t a single minute I found myself wondering how much is left in the album.
Running about 40 minutes and 6 songs long, picking favourites isn’t an easy thing, but for the sake of this review I’m going to mention a few: “Ghosts”, “Slave Ship” & “Dreamweaver”. There you go.
FAMYNE delivered an album that bears all the values a doom metal album should bear: sincerity, humility and splendour. If you’re a fan of CANDLEMASS, KING GOAT, PRIMORDIAL, LAMENTED SOULS, TEFRA, PALLBEARER and the like make sure to not pass on this.