Sound: England is home to many great legends of doom: Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Cathedral and of course, My Dying Bride. However, there are few NEW English doom acts, as much as the music itself, they have nearly all succumbed to the slow degradation of time and (in the case of Sabbath) celebrity status. 40 Watt Sun bring back some of the old times within their debut, The Inside Room, but also add in a modern production for the current times.
Within these 5 tracks of lethargic weight is some unearthly power of emotion that slowly (naturally) works its way into your sub-conscious. The riff work is incredibly well-written, every chord is a pulse of depressive dread and the melodies will make your lungs collapse. The bass interlaced within is very Sabbath, following the riffs but also adding guitar based melodies (such as playing every 5th or 7th to the guitar notes) to emphasise the huuuuuge sound.
The production is something that's really noteworthy. The drums and vocals are heavily enriched in reverb with the guitars being somewhat dry by comparison. This is compensated by the guitars' huuuuuge tone and abundant distortion which is a somewhat fuzzy haze of soulful melody. Although they really screwed up the EQ on the lead guitar on the first song ('Restless') by taking out all the high end so it sounds like a Roland Microcube was used, this is purposeful production with proper consideration gone into how it sounds. // 9
Lyrics: From the song 'Carry Me Home' (no swing lo or chariots here):
Far away from home
And everyone I really know
All at once I find
I'm a stranger even to myself
And like the snow that's falling
I've never been so pure before
Christiania, before I leave you
You'll leave a mark on me
Patrick Walker is one sad man on this album. If you haven't heard of him, he also fronted brothers-in-doom act Warning and his distinctive vocals somehow manage to elevate themselves over the huge, impenetrable fuzz of the guitars. Despite having the tone of Mr Gloom the Gloomy Man from Gloomsbury in Birmingham (which is a fairly depressing place), there are times where his voice soars into hopeful melody such as on 'Between Times'. Its a nice contrast that sets this album as an hour long emotional trip through morosity and unexpected serenity rather than 'yet another slow band'. // 8
Overall Impression: As doom is a fairly ambiguous genre where things are measured in albums and not songs, there is very little to compared 40 Watt Sun to. Aside from the obvious comparison to Warning, Swedish band Isole share familiar ground as well. But still, 40WS have delivered one hell of a debut and its actually incredibly listenable. Although I will say this: The main melody to 'Restless' is incredibly similar, if not the same as, 'Designing the Enemy' by Fear Factory. I'll leave you to judge, but it gives an idea of how good 40WS's melodies actually are.
Songs to look out for: 'Restless', 'Open My Eyes', 'Between Times', 'Carry me Home', 'This Alone'. // 8