When I see the “doom metal” tag, it’s always frustrating to find out it’s not exactly the definition of doom I expect. Often, what’s coming out of the speakers is fuzz, stoner, psychedelic, noise, death etc. Of course, perceptions of a genre are more or less subjective and doom has its own myriad of sub-genres, but usually, when I say “doom”, I think of Candlemass, post-seventies Sabbath or Trouble – the kind of epic doom, with classic heavy metal at the core. So, here’s the very reason why Finland’s Desolate Realm are my cup of tea and their second full length Legions absolutely lives up to expectations. Created in 2018, the two band members Olli Törrönen (drums) and Matias Nastolin (everything else), have so far released an EP and a self-titled debut in 2021. Legions, surprisingly, is once again released independently by the band next Friday, March 17th. I say surprisingly, because the band has the chops to sign a deal with most labels specializing in classic heavy and doom, but who knows – maybe it’s a choice they made to fight the fight on their own.
The fantastic, if cheesy, cover artwork is what attracts attention first, but when the first riffs of the opening track hit, it’s the joy of music that brings smiles all over. The style is very reminiscent of what Crypt Sermon have been doing in recent years, in the vein of classic Candlemass and Trouble, with just а touch of Martin-era Sabbath. Tracks like Revelation or The Lost One present killer riffs built upon a NWOBHM foundation, while the closing epic Eternal Winter brings to mind the best work of Solitude Aeternus before a genius galloping riff and tempo Jon Schaffer would be proud of start at 2:26. If you love metal, you will surely appreciate what Desolate Realm have created with Legions – this is pure, old school, heavy metal played from the heart.
I have only one observation, which may, or may not be found as a detriment to the album and these guys’ style – the lack of more hooks and catchy choruses which could make the songs a bit more memorable. The melodies and the riffs are just great, but often, I found myself waiting for a killer chorus to resound as the culmination of the song’s musical idea, and it never comes. Anyway, this cannot take away from the impression that Desolate Realm have grown immensely for their mere five years of existence and I am sure the best is yet to come for Olli and Matias. Check this album out, you won’t regret it. I promise.
You can support the band and buy the digital version of Legions HERE