As I have already had occasion to write, Justin Chorley is the most active funeral doom musician in New Zealand. This stems from what he’s done first with his solo project Enter The Soil, thanks to two good albums like That Amber Lit Morning (2017) and The Still Forest, Bathed in Mist (2021), then with Bleed This Earth, where Justin is only in charge of vocals and drums, leaving the task of weaving the musical content to the two guitarists Stuart Fone and Chris Pointer. The trio had already released a self-titled full-length in 2020, but The Slow Decline marks a decisive leap in quality, thanks to the performance of a very painful sound that, as you can hear very well from the beautiful title track, draws at best the Mournful Congregation’s teachings, the most logical reference point for those who are dedicated to the subgenre in Oceania. Bleed This Earth, however, have a commendable melodic vein that does not collide with the suffocating slowdowns typical of another possible source of influence such as Worship (particularly perceptible in the second track When and most of the following On the Eve of My Death), without forgetting a character that looks at the more traditional side of funeral, respecting the dictates in a faithful but also inspired way. The four tracks, with an average duration of about ten minutes, are all equally valid and sufficiently diversified, with a final track like Your Lonely Hearse that looks more to the gothic death doom of the British school than the previous three. From Wellington comes therefore another convincing proof that would however need a greater promotion or, even better, the interest of some specialized label, to reach an adequate number of admirers.

2022 – Independent