Review: “Walls Of Sorrow” by Infirmum

Infirmum is a musical resurrection by Finnish metal artist Timo Solonen (guitars, vocals) who was active in metal scene on 1990’s. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Fantom Studios by Samu Oittinen, who also handled the production, “Walls Of Sorrow” was created in collaboration with session members Johannes Tolonen (bass) and Julius Lehtonen (drums) to give a Doom flavored Death Metal with an experienced perspective. Oh and if you like that epic cover art, it is the work of Jan “Örkki” Yrlund at Darkgrove Design.

To Darkness” begins the album on a Melodic Death Metal moment which would would at any point in the album. Having a pair of slower melodic moments that break up the flow of the bands sound without using any clean vocals is a nice touch that is often saved for more Progressive works but Solonen has more of a Black Metal vocal style that just wouldn’t suit that. It’s the Sludgy Doom Rock n’ Roll of “Cause Of Sorrow” that is where things turn left with a Down style riff that you just don’t see coming but instantly cracks a smile with it’s dirty sounds. The fun part of that is that it’s still contrasted by that dark unclean vocal that you might not expect to work in accompaniment but is actually perfect for it. Lyrically it’s along similar themes to the opening track but they could be two completely different bands if it wasn’t for Solonen’s unique vocals. Title track “Shadows Of The Past” harks back to the stylings of the opening cut while making good use of the guitar layering to add in bright and melancholic lead parts. Having some Funeral Doom influences musically with the booming vocals makes Solonen sound like a Nordic God. “Silence” was once of three pre-release songs and has slower vibe to it as the lyrics look to the past with a regretful nature through sorrowful melodies that evoke thoughts of mourning while also being epic and grand in stature.

Making way for the raging “Doomed” with haunting and sinister overtones that increase the tempo slightly but delivers that aggression in the guitar work with wave after wave of low and slow down picking. The rhythmic chugging has choice lead parts with a military march drum sound that is clean and crisp, driving you forward to your doom. “Wake Me” is perhaps Solonen calling himself back to the creation of music after a long absence, keeping that atmospheric from “Doomed” but also adding in a sing-a-long chorus that shouldn’t work but grows on you with repeated listens. “Autumn Breeze” is a return to the Sludgy Doom guitar work of “Cause Of Sorrow” with nods to the likes of Crowbar at it’s black heart. At points Solonen is barely whispering his unclean vocals as he depicts the changing of the seasons as time goes by and life passes by. The closing Black Metal tempo shift is something of an eyebrow raising surprise but a nice touch, even if it doesn’t quite reach the blast beats it promises.

Some brighter guitar work in “Sail Away” and a higher tempo groove to everything including some big rock chord progressions is a nice experiment that helps Infirmum escape the trappings of some of there more monolithic counterparts while not straying too far from the path as to alienate their audience. “Fearless” returns to the darkness of “Silence” with a slow crawl through dark atmospheres highlighted by a couple of bright funeral doom lead moments as it slowly crushes you to death with the weight of the World before diving into a pool of feedback at the bitter end. That would have been a good place to call it a night for the album but Infirmum have one more trick up their sleeve with “Trust“. Style shifting away from the Doom and into something which has some riffs that make us think of mid career Megadeth while keeping the atmospheric leads that act as a highlighter pen in a text book creates a final flourish of glory. A heavier bass tone is allowed to bleed out in the mix while the elongated vocal roars of “Trrrruuuussstttt” is something some of the earlier tracks call out for [7/10]

Track listing

1. To Darkness
2. Cause Of Sorrow
3. Shadows Of The Past
4. Silence
5. Doomed
6. Wake Me
7. Autumn Breeze
8. Sail Away
9. Fearless
10. Trust

Walls Of Sorrow” by Infirmum is out 28th February via Inverse Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp

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