It seems like a hard task for a band to remain focused on the basic elements and the aesthetic side of a musical genre, while performing a remarkable process of evolution on the very same time. Well this the case for DOOMOCRACY -an Epic Doom Metal band from Crete, Greece-, and their third “Unorthodox” album which is about to be released.
DOOMOCRACY were formed in 2011. Their debut album “The End is Written” was released in 2014. Three years later they released their second album “Visions & Creatures of Imagination”. Both those albums are great (I mean great) examples of a perfect mixture of US and Scandinavian Epic Doom Metal in the vein of SOLITUDE AETURNUS and CANDLEMASS.
With their new album, DOOMOCRACY are keeping the sonic basis of Epic Doom Metal as a starting point, and from there they are taking their music to the very next level, exploring more Progressive forms of musicianship.
The band is now following a very specific, elegant music path that very few have chosen to cross. The Progressive approaching within the Doom Metal realm exists on selected albums by selected bands. So even the studying of the material -that would probably result to the generating of influences- is not an easy task.
DOOMOCRACY have managed to create a masterpiece: An album that is not only a result of pure inspiration, but also a result of hard work for each and every detail. A careful aesthetic studying of the Progressive Doom Metal musical genre, have actually been used as a tool in order for the pure inspiration to take a final shape and sound.
The songwriting is remarkable. The solid Doom Metal riffing is shaping the desired room for the guitar parts of complexity that would become main points on the songs. The rhythm section is adventurous and the vocals of Michael Stavrakakis is the ultimate trademark on the DOOMOCRACY realm. In this album he delivers his greater performance.
Influences? The golden ages on SOLITUDE AETURNUS -first two albums- and CANDLEMASS -“Epicus…” to “Chapter VI” era- are the starting points in here. But there is so much more. For example I would point the second VENI DOMINE -Material Sanctuary- as a huge influence for “Unorthodox”. Why? Because DOOMOCRACY have managed to emphasize to the elegiac form of their songs keeping the perfect balance with their technical elements. This perfect balance is a remarkable feature to the mentioned VENI DOMINE classic.
I would also MEMENTO MORI and their “La Danse Macabre” album as a main influence in here. It is mainly the shining lead guitar work that has been done on “Unorthodox” that points me to this specific album. Speaking about guitars I have to point that Harry Dokos and Angelos Tzanis has delivered an outstanding result of guitar excellence on the the new DOOMOCRACY record. Their mature, elegant, expressive and virtuoso guitar approaching both in the matter of riffs and leads is a key element to “Unorthodox”. Back to the “La Danse Macabre” connection I surely think that the album’s influence opens a gate to DOOMOCRACY to explore a wide range of Swedish dark and technical groups and use their vibe as influence: From MORGANA LEFAY to HEXENHAUS and beyond.
There are three more bands and releases that I would like to point as serious influences in here: CONFESSOR and their “Condemned” debut is the first. As I was paying closer attention to the amazing rhythm section of the “Unorthodox” songs, this technical Doom Metal classic came into my mind instantly. Every single bass melody of Manolis Sxizakis and every single beat of Minas Vasilakis are so well arranged in here. Technical and into the point the rhythm section becomes an ultimate force on this release. Just listen to the amazing drumming on the “Eternally Lost” album opener -and second single-, or on the “Death, a State of Mind” track, and you would understand my point.
“Steps” by SIEGES EVEN is the next album that I would like to mention as influence on “Unorthodox”. You see the darkly ethereal atmosphere, the shadowed melodies and the enigmatic vocal expressions that marks the artistic existence of DOOMOCRACY’s third release, are opening to me a connection passage with the “Steps” masterpiece. Finally the overall atmosphere of “Unorthodox” and the vocal melodies of Stavrakakis brought into my mind another release: The “Reflection of Kontrast” Mini CD by CIRCLE OF ELEMENTS from Germany.
I would consider “Prelude to the Apocalypse” which is the first single of this album, as one of the best songs that DOOMOCRACY have ever written. Great vocal melodies, great riffing and an… apocalyptic atmosphere within the song. On the same list I would place “Eternally Lost”. The mysteriously shaded melodies on the verses -great clean guitar part and excellent using of the drumming-, and the darkly exotic chorus are shaping a top song.
“The Spiritualist” is one of those songs that widely introduces the listener to this new narrative form which is a big trademark in the “Unorthodox” album. The melodies in the vocal lines of the verse and chorus essentially coalesce into a unitary pattern that makes the track sound like an overall narration.
The above feature is founded in many songs of the album, a fact that prompts us to listen to the record in its entirety. In fact “Unorthodox”, a conceptual story (about days long gone and forgotten (?) and lost people). And there is a lot of work that has been done even on the links between the songs that would keep the listener on the overall atmosphere. I am referring to the “Aeons of Winter” prelude, to the amazing “The Hidden Gospel” theme -blessed by the magnificent piano of Sakis Bandis (HORIZON’S END, HAIL SPIRIT NOIR) and to the “October, 14, 1582” monologue.
More songs to mention? Sure. “Novum Dogma”, “Unorthodox”. And of course “Catharsis” a Doom Metal elegy to remain forever. This is a great song that combines all the above described features -and has an intro that could be a silent tribute to SOLITUDE AETURNUS “Beneath the Fading Sun” track. The Doom Metal nerds would get the connection I guess.
There are some more special guests in “Unorthodox” including Mike Wead (MEMENTO MORI, MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND) performing a guitar solo on “Catharsis”, Miguel Robaina (ex-MEMENTO MORI) performing keyboards on 4 songs (“The Spiritualist”, “Novum Dogma”, “Our Will Be Done”, “Catharsis”) and flute solo on “Catharsis”.
I am listening to the record again and again and I am wondering if there are any other bands in the Greek territory that have followed similar musical direction, exploring the technical Doom Metal realm. I can only think of WHATEVER END and their excellent “A Birth of Loss” release plus the two albums and the demo of the mighty HEATHENDOM (oh I really miss this band).
The production of the album is excellent. “Unorthodox” was recorded at Devasoundz Studios in Athens, Greece with Fotis Benardo, Angelos Karatzas, Aris Karatzas. Additional recordings at Groove Studio in Heraklion, Crete, Greece by Giannis Pratikakis. The album is mixed & mastered by Simon Johansson and Mike Wead at SolnaSound Studio in Stockholm, Sweden.
Cover art is a painting of Mariusz Lewandowski, known for covers of albums for bands such as ATLANTEAN KODEX and BELL WITCH among others.
“Unorthodox” is a piece of Doom Metal art, expressed through paths of real progress and original aesthetic. It marks a new era for DOOMOCRACY and sets new standards for the band and the listeners. Be sure to check this if you are taking your music seriously.
The album will be released November, 11th on No Remorse Records.
Check the discussion about the album on our forum pages.