Desire - _Locus Horrendus_
(Independent, 2002)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8 out of 10)
Desire were not an easy band to get into back when their debut _Infinity_ [CoC #17] was released in 1996, and as far as I am aware the album was poorly distributed outside Portugal. It consisted of very slow, symphonic, tragically romantic doom metal, much the same as _Pentacrow_ [CoC #30] -- the only sign of activity from the band since their debut. But now, six years later, a full-length successor has been released. This is, to the best of my knowledge, a self-financed, independent release, but it certainly doesn't come across as cheap: the thick booklet (thanks both to the number of pages itself and also the glossy paper they used) and the fact that the album was mastered at Finnvox Studios in Helsinki contribute to that. The description above still suits their music nicely -- symphonic, tragic and romantic it still is, and definitely doom metal --, only now it's not quite as slow as it used to be. This affects the death vocals as well: previously each syllable seemed to take forever to be uttered (which wasn't necessarily unpleasant). Despite the good quality of the death grunts, the black vocals still strike me as slightly cartoonish and not entirely convincing, which, considering how much of the music has vocals on top, tends to detract somewhat from the effectiveness of Desire's tragic soundscapes. The same can be said about the annoying accent on the spoken passages. More female vocals would have been welcome, as they are used too sparingly in this 70 minute record. The band is very fond of harvesting inspiration from the movie "The Crow" (samples included) and quoting Fernando Pessoa, who was one of the greatest Portuguese poets that ever lived and one who appeared to have a desperately melancholic soul. Of course these quotes won't mean much to non-Portuguese speakers, but in fact they work really well with the music and provide a welcome break from the lyrics themselves. The lengthy and slow-to-mid-paced song structures may challenge the patience of some listeners, but those who usually enjoy doom metal should not have a problem here. This record is not without its flaws, but it is a great effort from a dedicated band and deserves attention from darkly romantic doom metal enthusiasts.


(article published 1/9/2002)

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