Skepticism - _Lead and Aether_
(Red Stream, 1998)
by: Alex Cantwell (
I try not to believe too much of the hype and descriptive adjectives that labels often use to describe their bands. Thankfully, in the metal world, they are actually relevant from time to time. When I read the ad for _Lead and Aether_, it was described as being "primitive funeral doom", and I'm thinking "well, what the heck is that?" Then I put the CD in and understood completely -- this is not metal, it's musical accompaniment to a funeral for a czar or something. Every track is total funeral dirge, but not without emotion ("The March and the Stream"). The lyrics are poetic and are actually kind of "nice", but often expounding upon loneliness as a theme. The whole CD seems to be dominated by a pipe organ, but yes, a guitar is in the mix too, sometimes. Layers of keyboards create a stirring presence, and it's immediately obvious that the drums were not played on a rock kit, opting instead for kettle drums and crashing symbols. This is my first exposure to Skepticism, and from reading a review of _Stormcrow Fleet_ I was under the impression that they were doom metal, which this is definitely not, with the exception of hints of doom on a few tracks. Although it is doomy, it's appeal will be to those who are into dark/ambient.
(article published 1/10/1998)
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