Laudanum- The Coronation

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, October 25, 2009

Though Laudanum may be labeled as a doom/sludge metal band, how much listeners will enjoy their sophomore effort The Coronation will depend on their ability to absorb and enjoy drone/ambient. Whereas other bands in the genre have offered more traditional doom arrangements Laudanum seamlessly blends in drone and noise arrangements into their material to create a very dark and depressive atmosphere that is sure to completely demolish listeners. It’s certainly not the most accessible music, but anyone that is open to the aforementioned genres will want to give it a shot.

Right from the start it is clear that this is not going to be your average doom album. The first track “Procession” is evidence of this as rather than launching straight into doom/sludge, the instrumentalists offer a drone/noise track that is reminiscent of 20.SV and some of the other artists in the genre. There are some other tracks that follow this pattern and offer some droning Sunn O))) style riffs, but for the most part the style here is still overwhelmingly doom oriented. Laudanum is constantly focused on hitting the listener with extremely heavy riffs and drum beats that create a desolate atmosphere. The material on The Coronation is certainly not friendly, and fans of the genre would likely not have it any other way. Overall, provided that you are able to appreciate the drone/noise arrangements you will find that this disc is one of the better efforts to have come out this year.

There are only vocals on a few of the songs on The Coronation, but when they do make an appearance they sound extremely evil and raw. What Laudanum typically does is wait until their material builds up to really heavy sections before throwing in vocals, and when they do multiple members of the band chime in with screams and growls to create an oppressive soundscape that decimates anything in its path. This really gives the band an edge due to the fact that they seem to know exactly when vocals are appropriate and when the instrumentals should give the spotlight. Overall, though the vocals may only appear at specific moments they fit extremely well and help make this an extremely heavy release.

The Coronation certainly isn’t for everyone, and even if you are a doom fan Laudanum’s mixture of drone, noise and doom may be a little hard to swallow. But if you can appreciate all three of these styles and are looking for some music that is heavy as hell while also atmospheric, this is a disc that you should definitely pick up. It will be interesting to see what direction the band heads in from here, as there are numerous ways that they could expand on the styles showcased on this release.

Leave a Reply