When Nothing Remains is yet another excellent expression of Scandinavian doom pulled from the magic cylinder of Solitude. The Swedish band is of recent formation although the two musicians involved, Peter Laustsen and Jon Sallander, are certainly not newcomers; in particular, the former was until last year a mainstay of the fine gothic doomsters Nox Aurea. As I often find myself arguing on these occasions, the fact that the musical proposal does not present particular variations on the theme, does not a priori exclude the possibility of hearing work of relevant quality. This is the case with As All Torn Asunder, a record that certainly draws heavily from what has already been produced by the bands that have made the history of death doom, but with a truly commendable taste and compositional sensibility. In fact, the sound of ours immediately comes across as a successful mix between Swallow The Sun and My Dying Bride (inevitable when talking about death doom), with a certain bias, however, in favor of the former. In fact, many tracks bring to mind the early releases of the Finnish band, with the use of melancholic sounds counterpointed by splendid keyboard work and the use of a very effective growl; some melodic cues hark back to the best Draconian production, and perhaps it is no coincidence that Johan Ericson, who is the latter’s guitarist and composer, was called upon to produce the album and lend his own clean vocals. The album, despite its length that exceeds well over an hour in total duration, always keeps the listener’s attention, also because , while maintaining the melancholic mood that is the genre’s trademark, each song denotes a certain variety by presenting melodic breaks with clean vocals, as in the coda of the opener Embrace Her Pain, or by resorting to riffs that are as granitic as they are effective (exemplary in this sense is the splendid The Sorrow Within); on the whole it can be safely said that the band always manages to maintain an excellent balance, avoiding on the one hand falling into the immobility of certain funeral and on the other hand getting hopelessly attracted to the easy-goingness of many gothic doom proposals. The work does not present any weaker track, the one that makes you want to press the “skip” button; each track manages to stand out thanks to the duo’s ability to create melancholic atmospheres full of memorable melodies: having to make a choice, which is really difficult on this occasion, I would extrapolate Mourning Of The Sun with a splendid guitar line to lead the way in its almost nine-minute duration, Her Lost Life, “Swallowian” more than ever, and the title track, imbued with drama right from the keyboard intro and slowdowns bordering on funeral. The lyrics, as can already be guessed from the titles of each track, do not deal with elves and dragons or epic battles, but are imbued with a somber lyricism devoid of any glimmer of hope (…we have come to the final moment…) In short, an album about which there really is nothing to object and which grows with each listen revealing each time a new crevice filled with poignant bitterness. I believe that the proposal of When Nothing Remains is superior in quality and pathos to what has already been done by Nox Aurea, while beating out the latter clearly more gothic-oriented territories; thanks to the choice of Peter Laustsen, as of today doom sufferers have another magnificent project to rely on.

2012 – Solitude Productions