This review originally appeared on the Metal Disciple website March 18 2014. Written by George Washburn.
oday I complete this week’s Bandcamp hat trick with a third album purchased from the site. This is the funeral doom band Suffer Yourself and their debut album, “Inner Sanctum.” The band originated in Poland but apparently now call Ukraine home.
I received a text message yesterday from my friend Buke telling me about this band. I looked them up and gave them a listen. I was surprised to find they were funeral doom, because he never seems to like any of the funeral doom bands I mention. After hearing a short clip I knew I wanted to get the album, so I started looking around for where I could buy it. I saw that iTunes had it for $9.99, but decided to check out Bandcamp first in case it was cheaper. Turns out I was able to pick the album up on Bandcamp for a mere five bucks. So that’s ten bucks for 256k quality or five bucks for 320k? Once again, Bandcamp I sing thy praises.
So I downloaded the album, put it on my phone and started to give it a listen. I certainly understand the funeral doom label; it really is probably the most suitable description. Though most of the funeral doom I listen to is usually even slower and thicker sounding. And were those some clean vocals I heard? Technically these songs probably fall somewhere in that murky territory between funeral and death doom, but I’m not going to split hairs that finely. We’ll just go with funeral doom.
For fans of funeral doom, you basically know what to expect. The songs are pretty slow, the riffs are thunderously heavy and the vocals (when not clean) are deep and gravelly. When trying to describe funeral doom I like to describe it as the sound made by glaciers slowly creeping across the land. Dark, evil glaciers. Suffer Yourself is just a wee bit too fast to warrant that description, but they still aren’t going to win any speed competitions.
Those clean vocals I mentioned are a bit unusual for funeral doom, but I can’t say I’m not enjoying them. They really bring in a more traditional doom element that revives the sound and renews interest at a time in the album when listeners might start to zone out. When you have long songs like these (which are typical of funeral doom) it’s nice to have drastic changes to force one’s attention back toward what is going on.
Like most funeral doom albums, the songs are long which means you get fewer of them. In this case there are five tracks that run almost 54 minutes. While the music is dark and ominous the production is pretty sharp and clear most of the time. When it isn’t, it’s because of the thick air of despondency that enshrouds certain passages. Overall, this is a great sounding album.
More praise for ‘Inner Sanctum’:
“unquestionably of great value” Aristocrazia Webzine
“[a] blackened void shaped by devastating riffs.” Zwaremetalen
“highly addictive. gloomy, dark, pulled from the depths of doom…” Funeral Drone
“This album will remain high on my list of best doom albums of the year.” -Chris Axe (Axes Leftovers)
“It’s a mature combination of influences, carefully and thoughtfully crafted, which continues to reward with repeated listenings.” 8/10 Doom-metal.de
“This is definitely the death/doom record of the year thus far for me, and I highly recommend getting your hands on it.” 10/10 The Grim Tower