2014
05.05

Format: DigiCD, CD
Release Date: 05.05.2014
Country: Sweden
Genre: Melodic Doom Death

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Solitude Productions proudly presents the third long-awaited album of Doom:VS, a Johan Ericson’s band, a permanent member and a guitarist of a famous Swedish band Draconian! This new dark masterpiece by Doom:VS includes the best elements of the traditional band sound: outstanding melodies, gloomy atmosphere of sorrow and despair, depressive lyrics and, needless to say, highest quality of sound and performance. As always, Johan Ericson performed all instruments parties and clean vocals, while growl parties were performed by a special guest, Thomas A.G. Jensen, the vocalist of Saturnus who brought additional atmosphere and notes of desperation to the «Earthless» with his charismatic vocal.

Tracklist:
1. Earthless
2. A Quietly Forming Collapse
3. White Coffins
4. The Dead Swan of the Woods
5. Oceans of Despair
6. The Slow Ascent

32 comments so far

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  1. Review
    Aural Emanations
    04.05.2014

    Doom:VS is counted under some of my favourite doom artists. Johan, who is the man behind Doom:VS (and also plays guitar in Draconian) crafts melodic riffage and crushing doom metal together to gems, who are called: ‘’Dead Words Speak’’ (2008) and now ‘’Earthless’’ (2014)
    We have waited 6 years on a new album and now it’s here. I feel really privileged that Solitude Productions provided me a digital copy of this brilliant album. So, many thanks to SP for sending me this!

    There are major changes to hear compared to the previous album, ‘’Dead Words Speak’’
    First of all the quality of the overall sound on this CD. Everything is really clear and clean. Though that isn’t the only good thing on this album. The vocals are way more heavier and with that said, you can surely hear that Johan is both a great grunter and a clean singer. The leadguitar carries a more clean sound. Sometimes the leadguitar was sucked up by the thick wall of rhythm guitar on ‘’Dead Words Speak’’
    This time Johan has also called in a guest-vocalist and it’s not a rookie, namely: Thomas Akim Grønbæk Jensen from Saturnus. Though I enjoy Saturnus’ albums occasionally, I was never a big fan of Thomas’ vocals. They’re very thin and you can clearly hear his speaking voice through his grunts what is clearly not hearable when listening to Saturnus albums.

    As for criticism I would say there are too less clean vocal parts on this album. There are several parts inside the songs Earthless and White Coffins where (more) clean parts gave the album even more strength and would make Earthless even more mightier. Actually I musn’t complain as this album is a real gem and it will definitely make it to my top 10 this year.

    Absolute recommendation for fans of Ahab, Hamferd and Esoteric!

    Author: Aural Emanations

  2. Review
    The Metal Observer
    9/10
    05.05.2014

    Seemingly unencumbered by the six long years since Dead Words Speak, Draconian member Johan Ericson has just released what might very well be the finest album carrying the Doom:VS moniker. Firmly eschewing the somewhat Gothic undertones of his main band in favour of something rooted more strongly in the funeral doom aesthetic, though keeping a pulsing melodic dynamic intact, Doom:VS continues to paint bleak sonic vistas that easily rank as some of the most evocative, forlorn and powerful in this particular subgenre.

    Consolidation, rather than evolution, is clearly the name of the game here as Earthless sees Ericson continuing to explore the heavier style of Dead Words Speak, with the clean vocals and somewhat mellower parts found on the debut used sparsely. This approach, coupled with Ericson’s masterful grasp of pacing, works wonders throughout as the delicate interplay and juxtaposition between the lurching miasma of doomy guitars and heartrending softer interludes give the songs a richly textured sound that channels nothing but the best elements of fellow misery merchants Novembers Doom, Daylight Dies and Saturnus (whose vocalist, Thomas A.G. Jensen, performs guest growls on here).

    Earthless is a doom album in breadth, depth, essence and substance but it’s also suffused with a gentler side that’s as vulnerable as it is melancholic. “A Quietly Forming Collapse” and “The Slow Ascent” are perhaps the best examples of the latter side of the band, brimming as they are with soulful minor chords, lush melodies and easily some of the best lead work I’ve heard in this style (the guitar solo in “Quietly…” ebbs and flows perfectly). Elsewhere the interplay between clean vocals and what almost sounds like hardcore barks on “Oceans of Despair” lends the song a great sense of urgency (with the vocals essentially assuming a percussive dynamic), while the title track is a masterclass of pacing. When those melodies finally started to crescendo around the 7 minute mark I could do naught but sit in awe. It sounds counterintuitive but music this sad and dejected really brightens up my day.

    All things considered, Earthless is my new favourite Doom:VS effort and an early frontrunner for doom album of the year. Brilliantly conceived and executed, a professional production job and impressive artwork – it impresses on all fronts. Warning’s Watching from a Distance and Daylight Dies’ Dismantling Devotion will probably forever remain the twin pillars of this melodic-cum-funeral doom style but with bands like Doom:VS, Okera, Bell Witch and Cross Vault doing the rounds one can rest assured that this particular strain of metal will remain as miserable and magical as ever.

    Author: Neil Pretorius

  3. Review
    About.com
    3.5/5
    06.05.2014

    Doom:VS is the solo project of Johan Ericson, guitarist for the Swedish band Draconian. On Earthless, his third Doom:VS album, he handles vocals and all instruments.

    The songs are glacially paced funeral doom with melancholy atmosphere, some death metal influences and mainly harsh vocals. There are some spoken word vocals as well. Beauty and brutality co-exist easily, with rich melodies alongside more intense and aggressive instrumentation. It’s only six songs, but it’s definitely a full-length, with tracks clocking in between 7 and 9 minutes apiece. It’s a majestic album that’s easily absorbed and will sink deep into your psyche.

    Author: Chad Bowar

  4. Review
    Iye Zine
    9/10
    07.05.2014

    Il progetto funeral/death doom di Johan Ericson, Doom Vs., arriva al terzo album toccando quello che, probabilmente, è il punto più alto di una discografia già contraddistinta da prove di assoluta eccellenza.

    Difficile da credersi, infatti, per chi ha considerato “Aeternum Vale” uno dei dischi migliori mai pubblicati in questo genere, eppure il mastermind dei Draconian riesce nell’impresa, avvalendosi della collaborazione di un pezzo da novanta quale Thomas A.G. Jensen.
    Operazione, questa, che paradossalmente si portava appresso i suoi bravi rischi, visto che il ricorso a una voce così caratterizzante come quella del singer danese avrebbe potuto portare ad un inevitabile “saturnizzazione” del sound, facendo così perdere ai Doom:Vs buona parte della loro peculiarità.
    Ericson, al contrario, si svincola dai paragoni con un nome così ingombrante come quello dei Saturnus, privilegiando l’aspetto drammatico delle composizioni rispetto a quello malinconico anche se, in maniera analoga al modus operandi dei maestri danesi, il lavoro melodico è affidato a una chitarra che sa toccare i meandri più reconditi dell’anima e, alla fine, il fatto che a macinare accordi struggenti sia Johan piuttosto che Rune Stiassny fa poca differenza.
    Resta il fatto che Earthless si rivela sì un regalo quasi inatteso per chi ha adorato Saturn In Ascension ma è, soprattutto, la conferma del talento cristallino del musicista svedese, che dopo un album perfetto dal punto di vista formale ma inferiore al suo predecessore dal punto di vista del coinvolgimento emotivo come “Dead Words Speak”, ritorna a parlare direttamente al cuore degli appassionati con una manciata di lunghi brani, convincenti sia nei loro preziosi spunti melodici sia nell’alternanza tra il growl e il caratteristico recitato di Thomas, il tutto integrato dalle efficaci clean vocals a cura dello stesso Johan.
    Cinquanta minuti di qualità impagabile, di puro godimento per le anime sensibili che si crogiolano in queste sonorità, con picchi di rara bellezza rinvenibili nella più saturniana A Quietly Forming Collapse, nel dolente lirismo di White Coffins e nella conclusione capace di indurre lacrime liberatorie affidata a The Slow Ascent.
    Un’altra gemma di inestimabile valore estratta da quella miniera inesauribile chiamata doom.

    Author: Stefano Cavanna

  5. Review
    Gorgers Metall
    05.05.2014

    Med grеtende gitarer og dyp dшdsralling gir Doom:VS ut sin tredje skive, hele 6 еr etter forrige verk. Doom:VS kommer fra Sverige, spiller death/doom med mer enn et snev av begravelse. Pе Earthless presenteres vi for 6 saktmodige lеter pе til sammen 50 minutter. Tempoet er seigt som en elv av stadig kjшligere lava. Gitarsporene er vemodige, vare og klagende, men samtidig vakre, med et lite hеp om lys i enden av tunnelen. Vokalisten har minst йn fot i graven. Growlingen er som nevnt dyp, mens renvokal-innslagene har et talende preg av attitude som kan minne om So Much for Nothing. Trommene holder takten pе gravalvorlig vis i zombie-tempo. Ingen Red Bull der i gеrden. Doom:VS bestеr av Johan Ericson (Draconian m.m.), og pе Earthless har han fеtt hjelp av Thomas Akim Grшnbжk Jensen (Saturnus etc.) til litt gjestevokal. Dersom du liker Mourning Dawn, Shattered Hope, Mourning Beloveth, Swallow the Sun und so weiter, har du du sikkert trykket play nedenfor for lenge siden.

  6. Review
    Darkside
    10/10
    11.05.2014

    Господин Йохан Эрикссон возвращается к нам после длительного периода забытья. Возвращается не один, а в компании признанного мастера меланхолии – вокалиста Saturnus Томас Йенсена, ответственного на этой пластинке преимущественно за партии гроула. Честно сказать, сама новость о грядущем выходе “Earthless” меня очень порадовала, потому что я являюсь давним поклонником Draconian, и, пусть даже сольная, активность со стороны их мастермайнда меня обнадежила и порадовала.

    Я специально не переслушивал предыдущие альбомы Doom: VS и эта рецензия вряд ли раскроет внимательному читателю что-то в духе “найдите десять отличий от предыдущего альбома”. Я такой цели не ставлю. Но могу сказать, что поклонники творчества этого шведа, а также ценители классического doom воспримут этот альбом более, чем положительно. В плане звучания и атмосферы я еще не слышал творения у Doom: VS более цельного, чем “Earthless”. Чисто с музыкальной и технической точки зрения все выполнено на очень высоком, достойном уровне. Подчас от слова “проект” ожидаешь с опаской некой вторичности, но, к счастью, я никакой вторичности не услышал – песни самодостаточные, в них вложена душа и старания, это чувствуется в мелочах. Йохан с мастерством истинного художника использует весь ранее накопленный инструментарий – тягучие, грузные риффы, по-настоящему красивые акустические вставки, которые лишь подчеркивают атмосферу мрака и тоски, клавиши (пианино и электронные dark ambient-вкрапления) . В некоторых песнях, как например, в “A Quietly Forming Collapse”, нашлось место гитарному соло. Однако больше всего меня впечатлили гитарные тремоло, они так удачно вписались в некоторые произведения, что пробирали до костей, подчеркивая гнетущее, даже злобное настроение… Все эти элементы соединились в сильную, продуманную работу, которая при прослушивании и погружении в каждую ноту начинает пускать внутри вашего сознания свои корни, словно создание на обложке. Отдельного внимания заслуживает лирика – здесь она выдержана в более мрачном ключе, чем в ранних работах. Но это, безусловно, достоинство. И читать, и слушать ее приятно.

    За время прослушивания у меня не появилось желания остановить или пропустить какой-либо трек. Переходя от песни к песни, я погрузился в музыку настолько, что не хотелось выходить из состояния некой созерцательной или даже безучастной тоски, которая может сравниться, скажем, с тем ощущением, когда смотришь на опадающий парк осенью. Чудесно, что до сих пор на свете появляются альбомы, способные погружать в такое состояние.

    Не исключаю, что “Earthless” станет альбомом года в жанре. Лучшие треки выбрать сложно, поскольку альбом достаточно цельный, но больше всего порадовали – “A Quietly Forming Collapse”, “The Dead Swan Of The Woods”, “Oceans Of Despair” и финальная “The Slow Ascent”.

    Author: Wretched

  7. Review
    Two Metal Guys Reviews
    07.06.2014

    For someone who loves doom metal as much as I do, it’s been a surprisingly long time since I’ve covered a top notch doom record. Fortunately today I have the opportunity, nay, blessing, to tell you guys about the almighty destruction of Doom:VS’s new record Earthless. Replete with rich orchestration, very guttural growls, and some artsy acoustic passages, it’s pretty clear that Doom:VS are set to rise above the challenge of their rivals and become true doom lords. 10 years worth of releases are finally paying off for a seminal Swedish doom band.

    One of my favorite aspects of Earthless is the melodic guitar lines which nicely compliment colossal riffs in songs like A Quietly Forming Collapse. This one man project really gives us a view inside the head of Johan Ericson, that despite the bleakness there can be some light. His epic compositions drag in the listener and often tear hearts to shreds. The song structures here are unique and refreshing, they often make use of contrast between a heavier doom metal crush, and more laid back and refined parts that use simpler orchestration. The voice overs add a lot of flavor to the tracks and give a whole new layer of depth to Earthless, making it worth many a spin.

    Doom:VS has once again proven that Johan Ericson really understands what doom metal is all about. His guttural triumphs are not the sort that normal people might relate too, but for those of us who find ascension in the almighty darkness of doom metal, this is what we need to hear. Johan Ericson speaks from the heart, rubbing a part of his soul onto yours, opening up in an extremely personal way and showing the eternal might of Swedish doom metal. So go out, purchase Earthless and turn it all the way up as you fall into pure doom metal oblivion.

  8. Review
    Deaf Sparrow
    4/5
    10.06.2014

    A long time ago in a summer, far, far away, Draconian’s Turning Season Within came out and changed the game for my musical world. Few albums since then have come close to matching the sheer amount of emotional significance that Turning Season Within invokes. Johan Ericson, one of the masterminds behind such a fantastic album has his own side project called Doom:VS playing death/doom metal. Since 2004, he’s released three albums with the latest being Earthless with Thomas Jensen, the vocalist behind legendary Saturnus, on harsh vocal duty. Doom:VS’s past two albums have been absolutely fantastic and have received highly favorable reviews. His 2008 release, Dead Words Speak, should stand out as one of the best death/doom albums to ever have been released. With such high expectations, Earthless is quite the undertaking to review as all expectations need to be set aside to render the this as un-biased as possible. So let’s begin.
    To start thing’s off, let’s focus on the instrumentation. Ericson is a riff master. If you’ve listened to his past albums with Doom:VS and his work with Draconian, you will instantly recognize his talent and creativity in being the absolute master of doom riffs. This isn’t any bullshit either – Ericson is fucking Commander Shepard of doom riffs and his version of the Normandy is Doom:VS. His rag-tag team of alien companions are his instruments and he has an Adept in bringing punishingly morose and heavy doom while being melancholic and beautiful. Unfortunately, some of the songs on Earthless are hit or miss but when they hit they hit hard. “A Quietly Forming Collapse, “White Coffins”, and especially “The Slow Ascent” are some of his best works yet but the title track, “The Dead Swan of the Woods”, and “Oceans of Despair” are rather plain. Nothing stands out and they really just become background noise. There’s probably value in the more boring tracks but it would require a dedicated listen to find it, but that shouldn’t be necessary in the first place (and clearly I’m going through a Mass Effect binge). These issues might be due to the vocalist, Thomas Jensen. After reading some comments on the band’s Facebook page [Editor: Check out a posting from May 10th in particular.], it seems there are a fair amount of people who disagree with him as the vocalist and Deaf Sparrow agrees. There’s something about the delivery of his low growls that sounds like he’s trying to abruptly end and doesn’t extend or hold his note. Unlike Ericson, he also doesn’t bring about much of that agonizing feel which is required for this darker form of death/doom, thus taking away some of the emotional value.

    Overall, this album is great but not up to par with his past works. Despite this, Earthless should not be looked over and cast aside. It’s highly recommended it become a part of your musical library soon but it’s even more recommended to fans of the death/doom genre to pick up Dead Words Speak. While the gap between albums has been absurd and Ericson’s presence on social media has been little to none, he is still worthy of all your praise as he is the doom/death king who watches afar. We are enslaved to his will and his products of misery. Come forth Ericson and bring us to the gloomy shores where we will forever abide by your law and word (maybe without Jensen). Amen.

    Author: Cole Olson

  9. Review
    Angry Metal Guy
    4/5
    09.05.2014

    Doom:VS is a one man act with a pretty spotty record of productivity, but man, when they drop an album, it really drops hard! The brainchild of Johan Ericson (Draconian), Doom:VS released back to back gobstoppers of morose doom/death with 2006s Aeternum Vale and 2008s Dead Words Speak and both stand among the genre’s very best. Then, the band vanished from the mortal coil and seemed to be consigned to history. Without much warning, they’ve made a huge return with Earthless and now Johan is joined by Thomas Akim Gronbeak Jensen (Saturnus), who handles all the death roars. Earthless delivers 50 minutes of morose, forlorn, but heavy-as-fuck doom with more sadness and pathos than you can stand and you WILL feel oppressed. The music is much like the older Doom:VS platters, but there is a strong Saturnus influence too, and the combination works extremely well. Sometimes they borrow from My Dying Bride, and other times they sound more like October Tide, but they always sound convincing and the riffs are top notch.

    With six songs, each clocking in between seven and nine minutes, you’d think this would be a chore to sit through, but it flows effortlessly and though the music is pretty dirgey, they manage to shift tempos just at the right moments to keep things rolling along like a grim parade. The opening title track is fraught with morosely trilling leads that are pure gold and the music is so emotional you can almost see the individual notes break down and cry. It’s everything doom/death should be and hits all the right buttons (especially the cold trem riffs that pop in around 6:40). “A Quietly Forming Collapse” (excellent title) is equally wrist slitting with some truly unhappy lead riffs that smother whatever hope you may have squirreled away deep in the crevices of your dark heart.

    “White Coffins” has Finland written all over it, with a real winter coldness to the riffs and a hint of Insomnium and Rapture in the leads. The sudden addition of haunting clean vocals on “Oceans of Despair” is very effective and reminds me a lot of Warning‘s Watching From a Distance, and “The Slow Ascent” benefits from a slight Primordial vibe to the riffs and song structure.

    Doomvs_2014This stuff is slow, but not funeral doom slow and despite the length of the songs, it never causes me to drift or go moss peeping, and that’s the sign of solid doom/death. That said, it’s tough to say exactly why this works as well as it does. It stays pretty close to genre norms and isn’t the least bit innovative or progressive. It just works and that’s all that really matters.

    Johan’s riffs are really a thing of beauty here. He was always a great riff writer, but these are some of his best yet. Always melancholy and somber, they flit between beautiful and crushing and maintain that delicate equipoise across the album’s length. The addition of Jensen on vocals pays immediate dividends, with his deep, powerhouse roars and odd shouts, he brings a lot of the Saturnus magic heard on albums like Martyre to this project and it’s an instant fit.

    If you love your doom/death emotional and sad, rather than heavy and grinding, Earthless is your new Wookie co-pilot. Doom:VS continues to impress me when they deign to release something and if your only quibble with a band is that they aren’t productive enough, that’s not exactly an indictment. Excellent, emotional stuff right here.

    Author: Steel Druhm

  10. Review
    Sputnik Music
    4.2/5
    26.05.2014

    While there’s plenty of familiarity and traditional doom songwriting to be found on Doom:VS’s third album, its sound is flawless enough to make me not care for comparisons, make me not care for other bands, make me oblivious to pretty much everything else while Earthless is playing. In that sense, there couldn’t have been a more fitting title for this record. I can’t call it a meditative album, though. During meditation, you strive to shut down your brain so you could effectively experience perfect harmony with the environment in which you’re in, cleansing your mind in the process. Earthless works the other way around: while it does a magnificent job of absorbing you during its 50-minute run time, much like meditation does, it sets your mind alight, rather than your senses. The album carries with it an aura that is austere, melancholic, bereft of sunlight, but one that above all excels at comprehensively nailing the listener into place and fixing his mind on the subject matter. There’s no real point in highlighting separate tracks here, as the album sounds best when experienced in full, building from crawling opening cuts to an explosive climax. As crushing guitars and deep growls eventually crash and entwine with powerful melodies, a level of clarity is reached at the end of the record. In a way, Doom:VS’s latest offering is a story of release, though there’s no real light or a higher plateau awaiting at the end of the journey. Emotionally, the album opens up as it progresses, but when all is said and done, the end is still unmistakably bleak. Feeling different emotions along the way though, isn’t that the point?

    It has a magical quality to it, Earthless. It makes me dream bigger, think harder, envision broader. For example, it prompted me to write a long (and now entirely useless) paragraph about the sadness in us and how the album reflects it, although the source material’s scope is narrower and less abstract. Earthless is an album consumed by death: it breathes death, describes death, aches death, warns about death, it even wants to defy death. There’s no hidden philosophy to be found here – all is out for the listener to see and hear. Yet, much like with death, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. This seemingly straightforward doom metal album keeps opening doors leading to unexplored spaces with each new listen. Every single song on here has taken me over during different spells, from the hopeless title track to the unexpectedly soaring “Oceans of Despair”, and all have abled my mind to portray very different images, in both tone and visuals. Aside from rock solid musicianship, it comes down to human nature and our fascination with phenomena we can’t fully wrap our heads around that makes Earthless as powerful as it is, I believe. After all, every event in our life that has to do with death has a profound effect on us, making us analyze and philosophize about our existence – we are, unmistakably, both frightful of and intrigued by it. Seeing as how multi-instrumentalist Johan Ericson deals with the subject and some of the emotions it invokes in an honest, musically engaging and thoughtful (albeit often indecipherable – grab a lyric sheet!) manner, it makes for, rather automatically, a fascinating record – one that has fantastic replay value and the ability to elicit fresh thoughts with every new spin. As many movie villains have proclaimed death to only be the beginning, the conclusion of the first playthrough to Earthless is just a start.

    Author: Magnus Altkula

  11. Review
    Metal.de
    8/10
    13.05.2014

    Ein-Mann-Bandprojekte haben grundsätzlich einen etwas zweifelhaften Ruf, denn in den wenigsten Fällen gelingt es einer einzigen Person, den Prozess von der Erschaffung bis zur vollständigen Umsetzung von fesselndem Songmaterial in einer gleichbleibenden Qualität zu erreichen. Eine erfrischende Ausnahme hiervon stellt das Soloprojekt DOOM:VS dar, die Spielwiese des Schweden Johan Ericson, der auch bei der Gothic-Doom-Band DRACONIAN die Gitarre bearbeitet. Schon die beiden Alben “Aeternum Vale” und “Dead Words Speak” gehören zu den richtig guten Alben der schleppenden, doomigen Death Metal-Zunft – auch wenn es Herrn Ericson damit (bisher) nicht nachhaltig gelang, aus dem Schatten seines Hauptprojektes herauszutreten und es immerhin sechs Jahre von Vorgänger “Dead Words Speak” bis zur aktuellen Scheibe “Earthless” gedauert hat. Aber es zählt ja das Hier und Jetzt – und das kann sich im Falle von “Earthless” wahrlich hören lassen.

    DOOM:VS konzentriert sich auf “Earthless”, im Gegensatz zu seinen beiden Vorgängern, noch deutlicher auf die schwere, bleierne Seite des Death Doom: Dagegen wirkt Johan Ericsons Hauptbetätigungsfeld DRACONIAN stellenweise fast leicht und luftig. Dennoch driftet man nie in die gefährliche und allzeit verlockende Untiefe des Funeral Doom – die lähmende Monotonie – ab. Ein wirklich gelungener Drahtseilakt, den es auf “Earthless” zu hören gibt, und der konsequent die noch an den Vorgängeralben zu erkennenden Mankos ausbessert: Vornehmlich durch Steigerung im Bereich der Produktion und eine erfreuliche Überraschung bei der gesanglichen Leistung. Denn durch “Outsourcing” der Frontmannarbeit und Einbeziehung des Death-Doom-Veteranen Thomas A.G. Jensen (SATURNUS) mit seinen gegrowlten Parts, der die Kompositionen von “Earthless” in seinem markanten Gesangsstil noch etwas klagender und verzweifelter klingt lässt, wird der Musik von DOOM:VS eine zusätzliche Qualität verpasst. Aber auch gesprochen, geschrien und geflüstert wird auf “Earthless”: Alles sehr harmonisch in die Stimmung der Songs eingefasst. Zudem klingt die Produktion noch etwas satter und voller als noch auf dem Vorgänger.

    Natürlich dominieren auch auf “Earthless” genretypisch markante und walzende Riffs, die fast durchgehend im unteren Geschwindigkeitsbereich angesiedelt sind. Gelegentlich wird jedoch einen (klitzekleinen) Gang hochgeschaltet, und es entstehen mitreißende und geradezu anrührende Passagen, die bestimmt auch alte Metal-Haudegen sprachlos und berührt zurücklassen werden. Zudem gibt es auf “Earthless” einiges zu entdecken: Ein mitreißendes Duett im Titeltrack, ein einsames Gitarrensolo am Ende von “A Quietly Formin Collapse”, das schwer verdauliche und monolithische “The Dead Swan Of The Wood”, unerwarteter Klargesang in “Oceans Of Despair”, der epische Einstieg in “The Slow Ascent”. Jeder der sechs Songs enthält sein eigenes kleines Highlight – sei es mit ein bisschen Keyboard als Unterstützung, in Form einer bezaubernden Gitarrenmelodie oder als bewusst gesetzte Pause im Gesang: Langeweile kommt auf jeden Fall nicht auf. Dabei sind DOOM:VS stilistisch Traditionalisten im besten Sinne: Alle Songs stehen auf einem soliden Fundament der klassischen Death Doom-Werke der 1990er-Jahre, und man schafft es dennoch, nicht abgedroschen oder wie ein Plagiat zu klingen. Naheliegenderweise erhört man zwar ein bisschen SATURNUS, dazu die Kollegen von MOURNING BELOVETH, manchmal Anklänge bei MY DYING BRIDE – und all dies ist sicherlich keine Revolution des Genres, kein Feuerwerk an Innovation, das hier abgebrannt wird, aber es handelt sich zweifellos um schwer fesselnde und stimmungsvolle Musik, die mit traurigem Herzen und viel Leidenschaft vorgetragen wird.

    Und so lässt man sich dann durch die fünfzig Minuten Spielzeit schleppen und kann die düstere, zähe und verzweifelte Stimmung der Songs förmlich greifen. “Earthless” ist somit ein Genuss für jeden Freund melancholischer Töne im Allgemeinen und Fans der oben bereits genannten Death-Doom-Größen im Speziellen. Also: Zimmertür zu, Vorhänge runter, Frühling raus – “Earthless” an.

    Author: Sven Lattemann

  12. Review
    The Sonic Sensory
    4.2/5
    09.05.2014

    I’m not going to lie, I’ve been on a pretty solid doom binge for the last few years. As a whole it quickly became my favourite genre, bringing together so many aspects and themes that engage me as a simple listener. By now, I consider myself pretty well versed in the comings and goings of doom at every level, whether it be ambient, death, traditional or funeral. The genre as a whole stands out for me, invites me to share in the often thick atmospheres and dark imagery. Despite having listened to the genre so much, there’s always a sense of renewed grandeur with every new release, there’s always something different, something that relates to the listener. It’s the very foundations of the music that keep it so engaging, vibrant, fresh allowing the often dark tones to carry an air of mystique.

    Take what you will from a genre often associated with monolithic dirges, non-existent beats and a tendency to promote drama (usually through themes such as despair, death, loss, longing… you see where this is going), ‘Earthless’ is as much of a ride as the act’s previous records, built with some solid fundamentals to achieve yet another grand opus of death inspired doom. Comparisons will rather expectantly arise when it comes to the Doom:Vs moniker. Born of Draconian fame, Johan Ericson brings a dark affair melded with smooth melodic sensibilities to release a record that unveils new aspects with each listen. At the album’s core, the music treads the line between beautiful and transcending. It’s not all mellow cleans broken by devastating growls. Doom has never been so simple. Everything crescendos, decrescendos and dances around the stereotypical cores of the music. It’s not without boundaries, but the borders of the genre never get crossed. J. Ericson knows the fundamentals (something built on years of experience) and brings out the best in every feature.

    At times, ‘Earthless’ can be a ‘typical’ doom metal release. With a run time of just over fifty minutes, the album’s six tracks float between seven and ten minutes. For those not used to the usual doom dynamic, these may seem like lengthy tracks but they sit quite accessible to almost every listener of the album. It’s these shorter track times that allow the album to shine as a whole. Even the album opener (and title track) is an impressive display of the best the genre has to offer. Notes from a piano caress the softer aspects of the listeners’ minds, encouraging an emotive listen, building on the intertwining dynamics and melodic leads. The track does turn and twist bringing harsh growls and swelling compositions, if you aren’t hooked at this point, you’re already missing out. The rest of the record follows suit, bringing together a world of dark motifs, ethereal cleans and devastating heaviness. It’s weird that words alone do not describe an accurate representation of ‘Earthless’ by themselves. These words take more meaning once you’ve heard the record in its entirety.

    If you’re anything like me, this is more than a welcome continuation of Doom:Vs’ previous album, ‘Dead Worlds Speak’. It becomes an addiction enabled by the best in the industry. It seems a whole lot of doom will fill my end of year list, even if we’re not even half way through the year. ‘Earthless’ is certainly worthy of the accolades it’s receiving (and those to come) and will see itself played often for years to come.

    Author: Robert

  13. Review
    Abysmal Hymns
    13.05.2014

    Sweden is not the first place that comes to mind when I think of doom, but Johan Ericson from Draconian proves to be a one man machine, impressively proving as adept at tracking drums as he is capturing some of these chilling guitars. I have a ravenous hunger for more funeral doom and it doesn’t come out with the regularity I would like, but the albums are always meticulously crafted so they normally prove to be worth the wait.

    The title track that opens the album is paced like a Mournful Congregation song, butt he vocals are more forceful and the song gets to moving at a more aggressive pace than the Mournful Congregates do. There is an Evoken like beauty to the sailing beginning of “A Quietly Forming Collapse”. The low gurgled vocals are just like I want them from this sort of thing, they are broken up by spoken passages. After a time the spoken parts remind me of Paradise Lost.

    The deliberate pacing is a slow droning rumble, it doesn’t linger over the snare as crawlingly as some, the songs retain a sense of movement and break down into beautiful atmospheric sections that do not cost the overcast clouds that cloak the music. If there was going to be a single , I suppose it would be “White Coffins” as it adheres closer to a metal format than some of the sprawling tapestries of sonic gloom on this album. The vocals are accented in a way that sounds like the growls are keeping time rather than just bile churning.

    This album is heavy as fuck but also trance inducing, I can just put it on and let it float away with me. There is almost a more shoegaze or post rock element to some of the guitar that twinkles in the background of “the Dead Swan of the Woods” , though the song it’s self is metal splendor. The guitar melodies are pretty catchy, which in some ways is a Swedish trademark, though they are not being played here in fast layered harmonies like a methed out Iron Maiden like At the Gates, but in the same manner a David Gilmore solo sits with you.

    “Oceans of Despair” floats out carrying on a similar cadence as the previous song until the clean vocals lift it up and hand the song over to the grunts of a more Celtic Frost like passage . The break down is pretty dramatic here, but the clean vocals smooth it out and make sense of things. the album closes with “the Slow Ascent’ that has a tense guitar lead in that brings the song into the gray area between being depressive black metal and funeral doom,with the vocals the main element that makes the distinction . The tremolo picked guitar wells up out of a very delicate break down and further questions how distant of a cousin are the two sub genres.

    Its an easy decision to give this album a ten , it sounds great and is well written what more do you want, if you like funeral doom or looking for an entry point into the genre this is a fine way to start.

    Author: Wil Lewellyn

  14. Review
    The Metal Altar
    9/10
    30.05.2014

    Over on The Sons of Metal Podcast, El Goro has branded me “the doom guy” due to my predilection for the slower and darker side of metal. Naturally, this is going to mean coverage on doom metal albums here as well.

    Doom:VS is one of those bands who has somehow escaped me over the years. I’ve heard the name a few times, but I hadn’t checked out any tracks in the past. Come to find out, this is actually a solo project by Swedish musician Johan Ericson (Draconian, Shadowgarden), and he releases albums whenever he has the material or motivation to do so, which is why this is only the third album in the band’s ten-year history.

    The title track, “Earthless” starts off with a melodic opening before kicking in with a crushing guitar rhythm reminiscent of early My Dying Bride. Ericson creates a moody atmosphere, and his gutteral growls intermingled with spoken passages really set the tone for the rest of the album.

    “A Quietly Forming Collapse” is a plodding beast of a song. After stomping on your soul for four minutes, it breaks into a classical guitar-influenced melody in the middle of this over-nine-minute epic before returning to its dirge-like beginnings and finishing with an intricately-played guitar solo. It’s a glorious song and the album’s stand-out track.

    The next two tracks, “White Coffins” and “The Dead Swan of the Woods” have a more traditional funeral doom feel to them, with the latter hearkening back to early Evoken. Spoken-word interludes break up the song and heighten the sense of loss and isolation Ericson is conjuring.

    “Oceans of Despair” returns to more of the My Dying Bride influence. If you can, try to imagine the musicianship from Like Gods of the Sun with the vocal delivery on As the Flower Withers, adding in some clean singing and more spoken-word passages. As a long-time MDB fan, this definitely hits a sweet spot with me, even if the song is about drowning in your own sorrow.

    The album closes with “The Slow Ascent”. As it advertises, the track slowly builds in tempo for eight minutes before dropping off into a keyboard melody once the song reaches its apex. If “A Quietly Forming Collapse” wasn’t so damned perfect, this would be a contender for the album’s best track.

    If you’re a doom/death fan, you really owe it to yourself to check out Earthless. Ericson has created an outstanding album, and my only wish is that he could put out albums of this quality with greater frequency.

    Author: C. Hagen Radick

  15. Review
    Mortem Zine
    7.5/10
    11.06.2014

    Začíná syrovým zmarem a končí chladnou osamělostí. Jestli o „Earthless“ můžu něco s jistotou tvrdit, zní v pořadí třetí dlouhohrající album one man projektu Johanna Ericsonna přesně tak, jak bych čekal a jak by znít mělo. Podmanivé kompozice většinou od svého tíživého počátku vygradují v pasáž, kterou si nejlépe vychutnáte, když jdete po ulici plné lidí na konci dne, který se nepovedl. Začnete se usmívat navzdory všemu a díky „Earthless“ vás na chvíli přestane trápit, že svět nefunguje. Usmívat se budete do chvíle, než vám hudba připomene, že příbuzní Draconian pořád neoznámili další album.

    „Aeternum Vale“ a „Dead Words Speak“ definovaly má očekávání vůči nové desce. Na DOOM:VS jsem vždy oceňoval hlavně neortodoxní přístup na hranici funeral doomu s gothic prvky. „Earthless“ na téhle hranici přepadává do pohřebních pustin. Skladby se vyvíjí pomaleji než dříve, gotických prvků ubylo a atmosféra alba je bezútěšnější. Sám bych nečekal, že právě toto budu albu vytýkat. Největší problém, který s ním mám, je bytostně subjektivní. „Earthless“ na mě totiž působí podstatně méně dramaticky než předchozí dvě.

    Možná jde o Ericsonovo nejvyzrálejší album. Všechny zvuky na něm jste ale slyšeli na předchozích dvou počinech a pravděpodobně vás ničím nepřekvapí. Tedy možná až na vokály Thomase A.G. Jensena (Saturnus). Vliv Saturnus je navíc dle mého názoru na albu poměrně čitelný.

    Otázku, nakolik potřebujeme další stejné album, si musí ale každý zodpovědět sám. Za sebe můžu říct, že jsem si „Earthless“ užil. Mrtvá slova ke mně ale promlouvala víc a až budu mít na DOOM:VS zase náladu, sáhnu spíše po starších albech. Co si však pozornost rozhodně zaslouží, jsou texty a pokud si je propojíte s poslechem, vykvete deska do své plné krásy, kterou jsem původně přehlédl. Ruku na srdce, kolik z nás ale bude poslouchat a u toho číst texty (více, než jednou)?

    Pokud bych měl vyzdvihnout jeden silný kousek, pak bych zmínil „White Coffins“ s nádherně zlým rozjezdem přecházejícím v hloubavou melancholii. Právě tato skladba podle mě může sloužit jako dobrý příklad toho, co dělá DOOM:VS tak silné- zármutek v jejich podání možná neskřípe o kost, ale – a nedokážu to asi lépe popsat – je v něm schovaná nepatetická naděje.

    Author: Insomnic

  16. Review
    DarkUndergroundMusicZine
    8.5/10
    06.06.2014

    Doom:VS are a 1 man band from Sweden along with the singer of Saturnus doing the session growls that plays a very melodic and atmospheric form of funeral doom/death metal and this is a review of his 2014 album “Earthless” which was released by Solitude Productions.

    Dark and depressive sounding synths start off the album along with a slow, dark and melodic funeral doom metal sound a few seconds later which leads up to some deep death metal growls becoming a part of the recording and after awhile you can hear some leads in the music tat utilize a great amount of depressing melodies.

    Spoken word parts can be heard in certain sections of the recording and every song is close to 10 minutes in length and there are also some clean parts being mixed in with the heavier sounds at times and as the album progresses acoustic guitars are added into the musical arsenal adding a more progressive feeling to the recording while the music stills focuses more on a heavier sound and by the time the recording goes into the 5th track melodic clean singing vocals start to make their presence known and all of the songs remain in a slow direction from beginning to end of the recording.

    Doom:VS creates a very dark and melodic sound with the way he approaches funeral doom/death metal as well as making each track a masterpiece for this genre of music, the production has a very dark and heavy sound, while the lyrics cover dark, depressive and poetic themes.

    In my opinion Doom:VS are a very great sounding melodic and atmospheric funeral doom/death metal project and if you are a fan of this musical genre, you should check out this album. RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE “Earthless” and “Oceans Of Despair”.

    Author: OccultBlackMetal

  17. Review
    Deaf Sparrow
    4/5
    10.06.2014

    A long time ago in a summer, far, far away, Draconian’s Turning Season Within came out and changed the game for my musical world. Few albums since then have come close to matching the sheer amount of emotional significance that Turning Season Within invokes. Johan Ericson, one of the masterminds behind such a fantastic album has his own side project called Doom:VS playing death/doom metal. Since 2004, he’s released three albums with the latest being Earthless with Thomas Jensen, the vocalist behind legendary Saturnus, on harsh vocal duty. Doom:VS’s past two albums have been absolutely fantastic and have received highly favorable reviews. His 2008 release, Dead Words Speak, should stand out as one of the best death/doom albums to ever have been released. With such high expectations, Earthless is quite the undertaking to review as all expectations need to be set aside to render the this as un-biased as possible. So let’s begin.

    To start thing’s off, let’s focus on the instrumentation. Ericson is a riff master. If you’ve listened to his past albums with Doom:VS and his work with Draconian, you will instantly recognize his talent and creativity in being the absolute master of doom riffs. This isn’t any bullshit either – Ericson is fucking Commander Shepard of doom riffs and his version of the Normandy is Doom:VS. His rag-tag team of alien companions are his instruments and he has an Adept in bringing punishingly morose and heavy doom while being melancholic and beautiful. Unfortunately, some of the songs on Earthless are hit or miss but when they hit they hit hard. “A Quietly Forming Collapse, “White Coffins”, and especially “The Slow Ascent” are some of his best works yet but the title track, “The Dead Swan of the Woods”, and “Oceans of Despair” are rather plain. Nothing stands out and they really just become background noise. There’s probably value in the more boring tracks but it would require a dedicated listen to find it, but that shouldn’t be necessary in the first place (and clearly I’m going through a Mass Effect binge). These issues might be due to the vocalist, Thomas Jensen. After reading some comments on the band’s Facebook page [Editor: Check out a posting from May 10th in particular.], it seems there are a fair amount of people who disagree with him as the vocalist and Deaf Sparrow agrees. There’s something about the delivery of his low growls that sounds like he’s trying to abruptly end and doesn’t extend or hold his note. Unlike Ericson, he also doesn’t bring about much of that agonizing feel which is required for this darker form of death/doom, thus taking away some of the emotional value.

    Overall, this album is great but not up to par with his past works. Despite this, Earthless should not be looked over and cast aside. It’s highly recommended it become a part of your musical library soon but it’s even more recommended to fans of the death/doom genre to pick up Dead Words Speak. While the gap between albums has been absurd and Ericson’s presence on social media has been little to none, he is still worthy of all your praise as he is the doom/death king who watches afar. We are enslaved to his will and his products of misery. Come forth Ericson and bring us to the gloomy shores where we will forever abide by your law and word (maybe without Jensen). Amen.

    Author: Cole Olson

  18. Review
    The Rites of the Black Moon
    30.05.2014

    Six long years passed since the release of Dead Words Speak. With Doom:vs being a side project, this is somewhat understandable, but still far too long. Rumours of a follow-up started a couple years back, and yet it still took this long for anything to come of it. With the release of Earthless, in April 2014, it would seem that it does not live up to the expectations set by the previous works.

    The primary drawback to this record has to be in the vocal department. For one reason or another, Johan decided to bring in Thomas A. G. Jensen from Saturnus to provide vocals for most of the album. This was a horrible mistake, as there was nothing about the vocals of the first two albums that needed to be improved, really. Jensen’s voice is too deep, losing what little feeling could have been added to the music. These sort of toilet-bowl gargles were fine for the old Broken Hope records, but here they are ineffective. Even worse, the clean parts that he contributes are completely unlistenable, possessing a nasal and whining quality. However, the worst of all are the parts that are neither harsh nor clean, but just sort of a hardcore shouting. Johan still contributes some clean bits, doing his best My Dying Bride impersonation, but these brief moments fail to save anything as they come off as forced and disingenuous.

    The songwriting is much the same as before, featuring a good number of crushingly heavy riffs with a bleak and dismal feeling, as mournful melodies accentuate this melancholic vibe. Early on, Earthless is somewhat reminiscent of October Tide’s A Thin Shell, with the title track not being too dissimilar from “The Custodian of Silence” is some aspects. There is no severe drop in quality from the previous releases, though it is by no means good enough to warrant such a long wait. One would think that Johan could have come up with this material, quite easily, back in 2010 or so. The number of truly memorable melodies is quite few, not nearly enough to make up for the problems this album possesses.

    The production is about the same as the last albums in that it is pretty modern-sounding, but not so overdone as to lose the feeling of the music. Of course, being several years later, there is a noticeable difference. There is a bit more fuzz to the guitar tone than before, with neither helps nor hurts the music. To be honest, making the sound more raw would only have made the vocals even more unbearable, as this guy does not have an underground voice, at all.

    Earthless is filled with rather average material, with the exception of “The Slow Ascent”, which includes some gloomy tremolo riffs. Of course, as with the rest of this disappointing album, Jensen ruins most of it with his terrible vocal performance. Johan may have a thing for Saturnus, but some people actually wanted another Doom:vs album and we got ripped off. So much for this band. Avoid this.

    Author: Noctir

  19. Review
    Chromium Sun
    8.7/10
    26.05.2014

    Όταν οι μουσικές σου ανησυχίες και ο μουσικός σου οίστρος είναι στο ζενίθ, η μόνη σου επιλογή είναι να την εξωτερίκευσεις μέσα από μια μπάντα που θα την νιώθεις σαν παιδί σου. Αυτό εκανε ο Johan Ericson από τους Draconian δημιουργώντας τους Doom:VS το 2004. Κυκλοφόρησε το 2006 και το 2008 δυο καταπληκτικά albums (“Aeternum Vale” και “Dead Words Speak“) και περιμέναμε με ανυπομονησία το τρίτο του δίσκο αλλά αυτός δεν ερχόταν κάνοντας μας να πιστέψουμε ότι το κεφάλαιο Doom:VS έχει κλείσει. Και ξαφνικά, σκάει μύτη το “Earthless“. Το “Earthless” κινείται στα ίδια μονοπάτια με τα προηγούμενα album: funeral doom riffs, αργές ταχύτητες, τον Johan Ericson να γράφει και να παίζει όλα τα όργανα επιστρατεύοντας αυτή την φορά στο μικρόφωνο για τα hursh φωνητικά τον Thomas Gronbaek Jensen από τους Saturnus βάζοντας και αυτός το δικό του στίγμα σε όλο τον δίσκο. Αποτελείται από 6 τραγούδια με ένα μέσο όρο 7 με 8 λεπτά το κάθε τραγούδι. Αυτός ίσως να είναι ο πιο μελαγχολικός δίσκος για τους Doom:VS και αυτό φαίνεται μέσα από τις πολλές minor κλίμακες και συγχορδίες, αλλά και τον πόνο που βγάζουν τα φωνητικά (ιδιαίτερα τα καθαρά φωνητικά). Το “Earthless” είναι ένα βήμα πιο πάνω για τον Ericson και ελπίζουμε να μην περιμένουμε ακόμα 6 χρόνια για το επόμενο album. Οι λάτρεις τον Draconian, My Dying Bride, Novembers Doom θα απολαύουν το “Earthless” διότι είναι ένας συμπαγής δίσκος που θα θέλεις να τον ακούς ξανά και ξανά.

    Author: Valantis Pavlou

  20. Review
    Hell-is-Open
    9/10
    14.06.2014

    »Mit diesem Bandnamen bleibt einem gar nichts anderes übrig als Doom zu spielen, in diesem Falle genauer gesagt melodischen DeathDoom. Doom:VS waren bisher das Einzelkind von Draconian`s Johan Ericson, unter diesem Namen erschien ein Demo und zwei Alben, das letzte, “Dead Words Speak”, liegt schon 6 Jahre zurück.
    Waren die beiden Vorgängeralben schon beeindruckende Werke, so steigert man sich auf “Earthless” sogar noch. Einen grossen Anteil daran hat auch das Hinzuziehen von Thomas A.G. Jensen für die gegrowlten Vocals, ihn kennt man schon für seine Gesangsleistung bei seiner Hauptband Saturnus. Und zweitens ist die Gesamtstimmung noch eine Spur düsterer und schwerer geworden……«

    Author: Alucard

  21. Review
    Zerovarius
    18.06.2014

    Doom:VS es el proyecto en solitario de Johan Ericson guitarrista de los suecos Draconian, donde en algún momento también tocó batería e hizo algunas voces. “Earthless” es el tercer trabajo de Johan donde mantiene el “funeral doom” que lo ha caracterizado a través de los años. Denso, pesado, pero con muchas melodías, este disco nace seis años después de “Dead Word Speak” y esta larga pausa ha influido positivamente a nivel compositivo, se nota una mayor madurez y elaboración de cada tema.

    Madurez y evolución son los conceptos que se hacen presentes en este trabajo. Johan experimenta y se toma la libertad de jugar con arreglos de piano y voces limpias, elementos que enriquecen el sonido de cada uno de los temas de este gran trabajo. Sin embargo, uno de los aspectos más interesantes es el excelente trabajo de guitarras y las melodías que estas entregan, las que después de varias “escuchadas” van quedando irremediablemente en la memoria. Johan componen gran parte de la música de Draconian (por no decir toda) por lo que es muy probable que si eres fanático de dicha banda las melodías de Doom:VS te parezcan familiares.

    Como todo buen disco doom, las melodías se encargan de generar una atmósfera melancólica y opresiva, esto unido al peso de los riff provocan algo similar a un fragmento de “A Quietly Forming Collapse”.

    “El peso sobre mi

    en la forma de edificios

    rompiendo esperanzas

    un cielo blanco colapsa”

    Las letras son más bien crípticas, con muchas metáforas, pero podemos igualmente entender un poco el mensaje nos quiere dejar Johan. Un mensaje bastante oscuro por lo demás, quizás por experiencias personales del autor. “Earthless” menciona el destierro de este mundo hacía el “más allá” o hacia algún oscuro lugar de nuestra existencia. En “A Quietly Forming Collapse” todo nos cae encima.

    “White coffins” son los ataúdes blancos que se usan para los niños. La letra dice “Ellos mueren, no los dejen morir” un llamado de auxilio quizás. La muerte sigue presente con “The Dead Swan of the Woods”, donde quizás se refiere al fallecimiento de un ser querido. “Ocean of despair” dice “Este vasto mar será mi muerte, si solo mi corazón pudiera navegar” ¿Una desilusión amorosa?. “The slow ascent” sigue esta misma tónica amorosa con frases como “Ahora que te has ido, el invierno llegó”. Les recuerdo que todo lo anterior son interpretaciones personales. Cada uno puede encontrar sus propios mensajes ocultos en las letras y liberar sus propios demonios.

    Earthless se transforma en, quizás, el mejor trabajo de Johan Ericson a la fecha. Se nota una gran producción detrás, tanto musical, conceptual y de arte gráfico. Si eres fanático de bandas como Nox Aurea, Ophis o Ahab, no puedes dejar pasar este trabajo. Sin duda lo veo presente en más de algún ranking doom para este año.

    Author: Francisco López Castro

  22. Review
    Rock Overdose
    9/10
    20.06.2014

    6 ολόκληρα χρόνια περάσανε πρώτου ο Johan Ericson, o κιθαρίστας και ιδρυτής των Draconian, κυκλοφορήσει την τρίτη του δουλειά, με τίτλο “Earthless”. Ο Ericson, που χειρίζεται όλα τα όργανα μόνος του, είχε κυκλοφορήσει 2 ακόμα δίσκους με τους Doom:VS, το “Aeternum Vale” το 2006 και το “Dead Words Speak” το 2008, λαμβάνοντας εξαιρετικές κριτικές και για τους δύο. Σκοπός του Σουηδού, όταν έκανε τους Doom:VS, ήταν η δημιουργία κάτι του εξαιρετικά σκοτεινού, αλλά κι ενός προσωπικού Doom Metal project.

    Ο Ericson ξέρει πολύ καλά πως να γράψει ένα Doom Metal άλμπουμ και φρόντισε ώστε το “Earthless” όχι μόνο να είναι δύσκολο στο άκουσμα, για εκείνους που θα επιλέξουν να το αποκτήσουν, αλλά να μαυρίσει εντελώς τη ψυχή τους. Και για να το πετύχει αυτό χρησιμοποιεί τις πιο καταθλιπτικές μελωδίες που θα μπορούσε να δημιουργήσει, αργές ταχύτητες που φτάνουν και σε επίπεδα Funeral Doom, brutal φωνητικά, αλλά και αγωνιώδεις κραυγές, και μία ζοφερή ατμόσφαιρα, από την οποία αναδύεται μονάχα θλίψη και πόνος. Υπάρχουν βέβαια και πολλά ατμοσφαιρικά, αλλά και μελωδικά σημεία, τα οποία ναι μεν είναι πολύ όμορφα, όμως δεν ηρεμούν τον ακροατή παρά για λίγο, αφού οι κιθάρες, με το λυρικό παίξιμό τους, εντείνουν την καταθλιπτική ατμόσφαιρα, κυρίως στα σημεία όπου ακούγονται οι τυπικές post-rock στενάχωρες μελωδίες. Όσον αφορά τα φωνητικά, ο Ericson χρησιμοποιεί κατά κύριο λόγο τα κλασικά βαθιά του Death Metal, ενώ σε αρκετά σημεία, κυρίως εκεί που η μουσική είναι ήρεμη και ατμοσφαιρική, τα φωνητικά είναι καθαρά και σε μορφή απαγγελίας.

    Είναι αλήθεια ότι τα τελευταία χρόνια υπάρχουν πολλές κυκλοφορίες Doom και Funeral Doom, οπότε κάποιος μπορεί εύκολα να μην μπει σε κόπο να αγοράσει κάτι καινούργιο, αφού δεν προσφέρουν όλες οι κυκλοφορίες κάτι το καινούργιο. Αυτό όμως δεν συμβαίνει με το “Earthless”, το οποίο είναι πραγματικά όπως θα έπρεπε να είναι ένας Doom Metal δίσκος: αργές ταχύτητες, πανέμορφες και στενάχωρες μελωδίες και αγχωτική και καταθλιπτική ατμόσφαιρα. Ένας εξαιρετικός δίσκος που αξίζει με το παραπάνω την προσοχή σας.

  23. Review
    Hard Rock Info
    03.07.2014

    Heavy stuff. 6 long songs (7.28-9.19 minutes). I would describe this as doom metal with death metal vocals and melodic guitars (or however you should describe it). It might not be the most happy stuff to listen to, but I think I actually like it. It fits extra good when it’s rainy and grey, which it has been the last couple of days. Definitely worth checking out anyway. No doubt about that!
    DOOM:VS is actually a 1-man band with Johan Ericson (DRACONIAN) on everything except growl, which is handled by Thomas A.G. Jensen (SATURNUS). ”Earthless” is his third album.

  24. Review
    Destructive Music
    8/10
    19.06.2014

    A project so laden in misanthropic, negative doom metal that the name itself had to scream the word DOOM! Doom: VS… the brain child and solo project of Swede Johan Ericson of Draconian fame who is now onto his third solo album entitled “Earthless”.

    Ericson offers nothing less than you would expect from his third offering so get set for a melancholic dawdle through crushing, blackened fury, subtle suggestive melodic wanderings and catchy, doom laden beats. Indeed, through a series of guttural growls, softer clean vocals and a varied, intricate string of harmonies, Ericson puts together a lesson in bleak realities through vast and impressive soundscapes. Funeral doom has a way of striking out with great fury without seeming to move very far or fast and Doom: VS epitomises this superbly with its sluggish pace, creeping progression but immense aggression and emotional intensity! “Earthless” is as with all Doom: VS releases a kaliedoscope of raw emotions, pleasing melodies and pent up rage and sorrow and the qualities and talent shown on the debut and sophomore albums has not wavered here!

    Author: Luke Hayhurst

  25. Review
    Wonderbox Metal
    02.07.2014

    This is the third album from Doom:VS. Coming from Sweden this is a one-man project featuring a guest vocalist.

    This is bleak and sombre Death/Doom Metal that’s haunting and beautiful despite, or perhaps because of, the misery and anguish it portrays.

    The album slowly unveils under a cloud of desolation and heartbreak. Mournful riffs seem to slide out of hidden openings and colossal growls give a solid and forceful outlet for the emotive music.

    The guitars are rich and textured, as one would expect from a release such as this. The music works well to evoke the necessary feelings of woe and despair required from this style of Metal and yet also manages to find beauty in the negativity.

    There are no weaknesses with the recording and the songwriting is top notch. In fact, unless you just don’t care for this style of music you’ll be hard pressed to find any real flaws here.

    Taking cues from My Dying Bride, as it’s pretty impossible not to do for this type of Metal, they also pay attention to other areas of the Metal globe and have hints of bands like Agalloch in the mix.

    One of the best things about this album is that it never gets boring, stale, dull or repetitive, which is no mean feat for a genre that’s essentially slow and melodic. This is a testament to the talent of Doom:VS and the album sails by in a blur of emotive dirges.

    Along with bands like Eye of Solitude and Decembre Noir, Doom:VS are one of the very best bands in the Doom/Death genre now.

    Immerse yourself in their despair.

  26. Review
    R.U.M. Zine
    18.06.2014

    Není snad projektu, který by byl tolik skrytý a populární zároveň. DOOM:VS, dítko švédského multiinstrumentalisty Johana Ericsona (DRACONIAN), jež sice nevylézá na světlo denní s nějakou závratnou pravidelností, ale když už se dostane ven z nory, většinou je z toho solidní poprask. A že by tomu bylo úplně stejně i napotřetí? Rozhodně ano! Johan si jednoduše střádá své nápady, ukládá si je do šuplíku, nikdo na něho netlačí a možná právě díky tomu překonává konkurenci s výrazným náskokem.

    „Earthless“ je znovu maximálně interesantní album a je úplně jedno, že je Johanova hudba víceméně předvídatelná, protože beztak dokáže posluchače odstřelit svou nadpozemskou kvalitou. Dost možná, že je to i jistý záblesk geniality. Johan v podstatě chodí chytat ryby stále ke stejnému rybníčku, na stejné místo, ovšem pořád se mu daří vytahovat jeden úlovek za druhým. Posluchač se může sice obrnit, bránit se a říkat si, že nic extra nového hudba DOOM:VS nenabízí, ovšem stačí první vteřiny titulní skladby a je naprosto zřejmé, kdo vás má na další hodinu v hrsti. Romantické a mrazivé, bezbožné a rouhavé, kytarově melodické, pomalé, pod údery mocných bubnů děsivé, po stránce přednesu hrubé, ale přesto lidské. Nálada a atmosféra těžko popsatelná, umělecký zážitek hodný k odhození klobouku.

    DoomVSPřestože je šestice skladeb zabalena do jednotného sukna šedi, je třeba vyzdvihnout i snahu o co nejširší pestrost. „Earthless“ mi dozajista připomíná postupně se sám malující obraz, ze kterého nejprve nic výrazného nepoznáte, ovšem při dalším poslechu se vám budou krok za krokem vyjevovat veškeré důležité ornamenty. Truchlivý Bůh si nejprve posvítí lucernou na všechny černé duše prostřednictvím „The Dead Swan of the Woods“, aby se v následující „Oceans of Despair“ rozsvítilo světlo marné naděje. Tato melodická věc poté kráčí ruku v ruce s čistým vokálem a předznamenává tak monstrózní finále v podobě „The Slow Ascent“, jež považuji za možná nejpompéznější věc v režimu valivosti, kterou Johan doposud vykonstruoval, přičemž hned úvodní melodický motiv je naprosto dechberoucí! Pokud někdy uvidím v přímém přenosu, kterak praská lůno naší planety, tak než všechno spadne a zanikne, v uších mi bude znít tato píseň. Bolestné a krásné zároveň…

    …ovšem přes veškerou zničující stylistiku, nemám z nahrávky dojem, že by byla nová produkce výrazněji depresivnější než třeba debut „Aeternum Vale“. Na „Earthless“ dochází ke zjištění a vůbec smíření se s tím, že náš konec je jednoduše nevyhnutelný. Umělecká výpověď brousí hrany daných skutečností a na všechno už je pozdě. Proto je potřeba se alespoň zasmát, byť černé myšlenky z hlavy nelze nijak vytěsnit. Pokud tedy máme ještě nějaký čas, pojďme si tohle album společně užít!

  27. Review
    Absolute Zero Media
    21.06.2014

    Draconian has always been a doom band that has impressed. With the Guitarist of this band and his band Doom:vs I have high hopes this is a one man show mostly as all music and clean vocals are done by Johan of Draconian but what makes it all the more impressive is that Saturnus vocalist does all the guttural vocal and there is a strong Sorrow / Gothic Doom element through out Earthless album. I hear elements of Saturnus, Katatonia, Older Anathema, Paradise Lost and Bands like Dolorian and Mournful Congregation going on here. This is not funeral doom in anyway . It’s more what you heard on Peaceville and Misanthropy back 15 yrs ago.. The Melancholy elements are strong here and that is really what works to make this such a winning release. The Slumbering pace of the release with the mix of clean an growls the pianos and droning reverbing riff it’s just the kind of Doom that makes this reviewer remember the days that this much was my life’s blood.

  28. Review
    Reaperzine
    7/10
    13.06.2014

    Dass man beim Thema Schwedenstahl nicht immer gleich mit einem Volvo erschlagen wird, kann sich sicherlich jeder Freund metallischer Klänge zusammenreimen. Dennoch ist die Assoziation mit dem Kraftfahrzeughersteller nicht vollends abwegig, wenn zumindest die Schwere des Sounds einem wie ein tonnenschwerer Volvo-Lkw in Zeitlupe über den Schädel fährt. Death Metal in all seinen zahlreichen Variationen kennen und lieben wir von den Schweden. Warum sollte also nicht auch zähflüssiger und düsterer Death Doom einen festen Platz in der schwedischen Produktpalette einnehmen?! Schnell noch ein Knäckebrot gegriffen, den Rest Absolut-Vodka runtergestürzt, Platz genommen auf einem Ikea-Möbelstück und die Anlage aufgedreht: Zeit für DOOM:VS.

    DOOM:VS ist ein Ein-Mann-Projekt, das im Jahr 2004 gegründet worden ist. Der Schwede Johan Ericson spielt dabei sämtliche Instrumente selbst und lieferte die cleanen Vocals, während er sich für das aktuelle Album Thomas A. G. Jensen von SATURNUS für die Growls als Unterstützung mit an Bord geholt hat. Es verdient auf jeden Fall Hochachtung, wenn eine Person beinahe alleine solch ein brachiales und gut ausgeklügeltes Bollwerk an Songs stemmt. Musikalisch bewegt man sich zwischen Death Doom und Funeral Doom, wobei die Funeral-Anteile stets die dominantere Position einnehmen. Themen wie Krankheit, Tod oder Depressionen finden in den Stücken des 35-Jährigen einen festen Platz. Vier Veröffentlichungen haben bereits ihren Weg in die Welt gefunden, die Demo “The Empire Of The Fallen” aus dem Gründungsjahr, und die drei vollwertigen Alben: “Aeternum Vale” (2006), “Dead Words Speak” (2008) und zuletzt “Earthless”, um das sich dieses Review dreht.

    “Earthless” ist ein stimmungsvolles Sixpack, vollgesogen mit bedrückend fieser Finsternis. Die einzelnen Stücke stehen für sich und verzichten auf Intros, Interludes oder ähnliches Geschnörkel. Langgezogene, getragen traurige Melodien bestimmen die Klangwelt. Vor dem inneren Auge entfaltet sich schnell eine triste, verlorene Welt, die in Krankheit, Tod und Verzweiflung zu ertrinken verdammt ist. Zwischen den druckvoll mahlenden Riffs kehrt so manches Mal ein ruhiger, fragil gespielter Part ein, der die hoffnungslos anmutende Atmosphäre stets weiter verdichtet. Neuland wird hier jedoch nicht betreten, und so fühlt man sich hier und da an AHAB und ähnliche Funeral Doom-Kapellen erinnert. Aufgrund der sauberen Produktion und der hervorragend kanalisierten Stimmung darf sich diese Scheibe aber gerne mit den Großen des Genres messen, verstecken muss sie sich bestimmt nicht. Die Growls kommen kraftvoll, lediglich die mitunter eingestreuten gesprochenen Worte, die der Atmosphäre dienlich sein sollen, sind wohl eher Geschmackssache. Ich selbst bin kein großer Freund davon. Das vielschichtige Gitarrenspiel ragt heraus und weiß zu begeistern. Der Opener und Titeltrack “Earthless”, sowie “The Dead Swan Of The Woods” bieten sich als Anspieltipps an, um einen guten Einblick in das Album zu erhalten.

    Fazit

    Mit “Earthless” bietet DOOM:VS atmosphärischen, tiefschwarzen Funeral Doom mit Death-Anleihen, der sich schleppend langsam in eine Nacht voller Agonie und Verzweiflung ergießt. Mit einem Pint herrlich kühlem Guiness bewaffnet, sollte man sich genussvoll zu ruhiger Stunde von diesem Werk ins Dunkle ziehen lassen.

    Author: Wilke F.

  29. Review
    Kaosguards

    DOOM:VS est un projet solo créé il y a une dizaine d’années par Johan Ericson, guitariste au sein de DRACONIAN.

    « Earthless » est le troisième album de ce projet, faisant suite à « Aeternum Vale » (2006) et à « Dead Words Speak » (2008), après une délai assez long qui aurait pu faire craindre quant à la pérennité de DOOM:VS.

    Soucieux d’exprimer son côté sombre de manière moins gothique que chez DRACONIAN, Ericson se livre sur les six compositions de « Earthless » à une véritable démonstration de Doom Death mélodique, sorte de bréviaire de la mélancolie moderne décliné sur un mode électrique. Chaque titre s’étend majestueusement et lentement durant sept à neuf minutes, des riffs sinistres et grésillants se posent sur des rythmiques de plomb, un chant caverneux éructe de façon linéaire des litanies désespérées. Inutile de préciser que l’impression d’ensemble est particulièrement austère.

    Intelligemment, le compositeur et interprète en chef a percé d’étroites fenêtres mélodiques dans sa grise et humide muraille. Le genre de fenêtres qui laissent filtrer une lumière jaunâtre mais tout de même : serpentant au milieu des riffs, de belles et simples mélodies de guitare s’imposent, parfois rehaussées par des arrangements de claviers assez discrets. Quelques interventions de voix claires apportent ponctuellement une certaine diversité, quand bien même elles ne sont pas toujours tout à fait maîtrisées.

    A l’arrivée, « Earthless » s’avère être un album de Doom Death classique mais beau, austère mais attachant pour peu que l’on accepte de se soumettre à son emprise stricte.

    Author: Alain Lavanne

  30. Review
    Metaleros.cl
    07.07.2014

    Tras una larga espera de 6 años desde que tuviéramos el agrado de disfrutar de “Dead Words Speak” segundo álbum de DOOM: VS, a estas alturas un muy consolidado Alter Ego del talentoso músico sueco e integrante estable de Draconian, Johan Ericson. Tengo el agrado de compartir con ustedes “Earthless” su tercer álbum, que en mi opinión claramente se sitúa dentro de los mejores de este año en el apartado del Funeral/Doom/Death. Un disco evocador, lleno de sutilezas y detalles en términos compositivos, un trabajo melódico y rítmico bien urdido, lleno de fuerza emotiva y melancolía, que se manifiesta envuelto en una permanente aura de dulce tristeza, dado que los acordes e interludios de cuerdas guardan ese dejo de esperanza tras la desolación que propone en lo colectivo.

    Se suma a toda esta potente propuesta sónica, el aporte del gran vocalista de Saturnus, Thomas A.G Jensen; que le brinda el tono desgarrador y visceral a la música, toda esta fusión hace de este álbum un producto macizo, integral y apreciable desde toda perspectiva. En términos de producción, cabe destacar la gran calidad tanto en el arte como en la mezcla de sonido del mismo, ya que tiene la fuerza, majestuosidad y balance necesarios para que todos los elementos ocupen el espectro sonoro adecuadamente y evidencien la gran capacidad como multiinstrumentista e inclusive como sonidista de Ericson.

    v1Con el título homónimo de “Earthless” comienza a fluir este ofrenda de 6 creaciones que fluyen como un mar de emociones, que corre turbulento a ratos, para a intervalos mutar por sutiles transiciones de menor intensidad, se inicia con un par de acordes de piano y un pulso funerario en batería, acompañado de murallas de riffs que caen pesadas y acompasadas para lentamente dar paso a un Thomas Jensen visceral y brutal, el lead de guitarra que predomina a lo largo del tema es de una tristeza abrumadora, que nos predispone a una actitud contemplativa y de letargo, así y sin darnos cuenta han transcurrido más de 7 minutos. Finalmente y para cerrar el círculo el tema culmina con los mismos y sugerentes acordes del piano inicial, dejando en suspenso y contención el aliento. Llegamos así, al que considero uno de los mejores temas que he escuchado dentro de este género en muchos años y en particular de este álbum, titulado “A Quietly Forming Collapse”, digo esto basado en su desarrollo dramático, de tintes monumentales, condimentado por la belleza de las armonías, riffs y acordes de guitarra que contienen emoción, sensibilidad y una fuerza que impacta.

    El aporte vocal de los “Growls” y voces limpias de Jensen, no hacen más que complementar el cúmulo de emociones que brota de cada sonido, con un tempo y avance funerario en donde cada golpe de batería nos sumerge en la profundidad de una desesperanza abrumadora e infinita, los interludios de guitarra de la sección media no hacen más que exacerbar el pesar y tras estas palabras “The river only brings poison… The well brings nothing but tears… Nothingness becomes the shadow, The shadow turns into me…” aparece como un rayo de sol y esperanza, un solo de guitarra que fluye con naturalidad dentro de la opresiva atmósfera del track, aportando el cariz épico, congruente como elemento de cohesión para la sublime culminación de un maravilloso tema. Aún sin reponerme del impacto previo, “White Coffins” se asoma en este sombrío horizonte sonoro preservando la mística tonal y atmosférica de sus predecesores, con un andar machacante y un hechizante riff base, esta tercera ofrenda fluye envuelta en un aura de malevolencia y de suprema oscuridad, continua presente el gran trabajo de cuerdas que permite interludios, donde la voz toma un carácter más narrativo que desemboca en momentos de liberación emocional hacia el final del track.

    “The Dead Swan of the Woods” es el corte que nos posiciona en la medianía de este tremendo álbum, aquí las líneas melódicas tienen esa carga dramática y emotiva que genera el acertado uso de paralelas en guitarra, en conjunción con el riff inicial y el maligno “bending” de la guitarra líder, que posee la intención y fiereza de una filosa daga y que como si fuese un hipnótico “loop” se reitera a intervalos. Realmente otro de los puntos altos de este magnífico trabajo, que reafirma la calidad y talento como compositor de Johan Ericson. Poniéndole el broche de oro a “Earthless” se suman al playlist los 2 últimos temas, titulados “Oceans of Despair” y “The Slow Ascent”, respecto a este último en particular, me recordó mucho lo que hacen los franceses Year of No Light, en su disco “Ausserwelt” y en especial en el tema “Perséphone” donde existe este uso de capas de guitarras en una línea más bien Post Rock, que no hacen más que cerrar de forma magistral un excelente álbum, con una fuerte carga emocional, un trabajo de composición en donde destaca el manejo de las dinámicas, las armonías, melodías y bases rítmicas, una orientación letrística coherente, un gran trabajo de matices vocales que se complementa con un arte y sonido del álbum de primer nivel, que sin duda ubica a este trabajo como uno de los mejores del género para este año 2014, otro gran acierto del equipo humano tras Solitude Productions, que va sumando cada vez más y mejores artistas a su ya increíble catálogo. Para terminar, sólo me resta, recomendarles a ojos cerrados adquirir este trabajo y juntar lo que haga falta para echar mano a tanta buena banda cobijada en este notable esfuerzo ruso, que para mí es la verdadera Casa del Doom.

    Author: Calígula

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