Ivan – Memory

Here is a work that will put a strain even on those who deal with doom on a daily basis and who are not discouraged by the length of the tracks or their slow and painful pace. What makes complex the listening of Memory, the third full length in three years for the Australian band Ivan, is the choice to entrust the melodic development to the violin, obtaining contrasting results that, as such, should receive different feedbacks. If the solution adopted by the Melbourne duo is fascinating, one cannot deny that in the long run it will test the resistance of the most trained listeners, because in my opinion the violin is an instrument that in doom metal should always be used with a very careful dosage (as the first My Dying Bride taught). The two very long tracks, which add up to a duration close to fifty minutes, are practically similar, with the string instrument outlining its lacerating melodic lines, a growl that in the background tells us all its disapproval of human existence, and the guitars that basically outline together with the rhythmic base the beat of a heart about to stop forever; the last minutes of Time Is Lost are an exception, when the union between violin and guitar becomes tangible and balanced, making this part of the work the most evocative and engaging. The alienating sensation comes from the fact that in some moments the record appears something wonderfully poignant, while in others an inevitable tiredness emerges without, in fact, discontinuity elements to cause such discordant impressions. Listening to Memory in its initial parts it seems almost to be in the presence of a funeral doom version of Dark Lunacy, but above all the most natural comparison could be Ea, with the guitar placed in the background by a violin clearly preponderant over all the rest. And so it is, however, that Ivan obtains what they had probably set out to do, which is to appear as a sort of sorrowful orchestra that accompanies the deceased to his final resting place. All these considerations lead me to appreciate this work, keeping more than one reservation on the possibility that it can be the object of many uninterrupted listening from the first to the last note; in short, the painful guitar strokes are always the best solution to induce emotions in funeral death doom.
It should also be added, in favor of Ivan, that the search for more peculiar solutions goes to their credit, especially since the progress compared to previous works appear sensitive, so Memory is a work that fans should definitely try to listen to because many could be electrocuted, unlike others who will be driven to archive it after one or two steps: I place myself halfway, considering the whole very intriguing but definitely can be improved in the balance of its instrumental components.

2018 – Solitude Productions