The third album by the Lebanese band Kimaera shows a slightly different approach compared to that exhibited in the gothic death doom releases that have followed in recent times. I don’t know how much this can be due to the inevitable isolation from the musical point of view that afflicts, for a long series of obvious reasons, the bands that decide to dedicate themselves to metal in Middle Eastern countries, but listening to The Harbinger Of Doom brings us back to atmospheres and sounds that date back to the early days of the genre, when bands like The Gathering, which still existed but had glided to other musical shores, or dazzling meteors like Decoryah or Moon Of Sorrow, found a melodic symphonic alternative to the darker sounds offered at the time by Anathema and My Dying Bride. The positive side of this operation is that the reference to a sound of the past does not lie so much in the compositional structure, but in the final performance of the album, characterized by a rather dry production and by the decidedly vintage touch given to the instruments, especially the keyboards. There’s no doubt that the album sometimes shows some little imperfections, like a female voice not always up to the mark and some too much roughness during the more aggressive passages, but you can’t help appreciating the spontaneity, even if a bit naive, that transpires from these notes. Moreover, it must be said that, compared to the previous releases, the level of Kimaera has definitely risen, freeing itself from excessive gothic frills to arrive at a sound more focused on the creation of dramatic atmospheres, even if always marked by a certain heaviness in the background. The Harbinger Of Doom, after an initial series of tracks with a rather strong impact, even if never without a considerable melodic component, literally takes off towards the end, starting from Claim The Dark, with its valuable guitar progressions partially obscured by a conclusion entrusted to a rather anonymous female voice. Even better, then, the intensity shown in Blood Of Saints and in the next track, as well as the absolute peak of the album, Aged Wine And Woe, able as the previous one to capture the listener thanks to enveloping melodies full of pathos, definitely up to the best expressions in the gothic doom field. The episode that closes the album deserves a special mention: the cover of one of Anathema’s symbolic songs, Lost Control, taken from their masterpiece Alternative 4. Going back to what I said in the first lines of this review, it is evident how much Kimaera end up playing this song as if the English band had recorded it at the time of The Silent Enigma and not afterwards, when Vincent Cavanagh had abandoned any roughness in his voice and the style was about to turn irreversibly towards a softer and more persuasive psychedelia. Well, the Lebanese band came out of the challenge very well, with the approval of Duncan Patterson, author of the song, giving a superb interpretation and enriching Lost Control with a dramatic emphasis created by the excellent growl of JP Haddad and the closing entrusted to the violin of Milia Fares. To sum up, apart from a few too many ingenuousnesses and its reference to models that some may consider outdated, The Harbinger Of Doom is a successful album that can be listened to several times without causing negative feelings in the long run, thus remaining attractive for those who have experienced certain sounds directly and keep them always in the corner of a heart that beats the bradycardic rhythm of doom.

2013 – Stygian Crypt Productions