A Clarion Call
Works Will Come Undone

A Clarion Call

Terrorizer, issue #118

San Fran Doomsters Affirm the Negative

by Nathan T Birk

Doom/death, and its monastic bastard-cousin, funeral doom, have reputations for rummaging depths of solitude and sorrow, unconcerned with 'progression' and other such loaded concepts. But don't tell that to San Francisco's Asunder, who are cut of a doomed cloth that's equally life-affirming and life-ruing. Primary evidence comes in the form of the quintet's debut album, 'A Clarion Call', a three-song/40-minute monolith of miserable majesty. Glacial in scope, tectonic in movement, 'doom' mostly in the textural sense, Asunder's take on slo-mo funereality manifests itself as a gaping gulf rather than the suffocating vice oft heir contemporaries, cloaked in ghostly cello that shifts as subtly as their molten, patiently plied songcraft.

"We each have some element of personal negative outlooks on the world, which we try to squash with epic somber riffery," declares guitarist/vocalist John Gossard. "so we can feel triumphant instead. It's hard to say whether our music's a reflection of our feelings, or if it reinforces them. the creative process flows more naturally when I'm feeling negative."

"This is just an artform that's clearly influenced by all that came before," measures fellow six-stringer Geoff Evans, "but it's an individual expression of human experience. It's a sincere attempt at expressing certain states of mind/being that are often difficult to express."

Although still slated to be released on double-vinyl, the self-released CD version is perhaps going the potentially doomed route of DIY, but a route the band's confident in all the same.

"We've had a few offers from a few labels," Gossard laments. "Either we felt they couldn't offer us much more than we could do for ourselves with a bit of hard work, or they wanted too many rights for too little in return. It's better off we lose some money and learn how the industry works. The whole music market is changing radically, and it's in any band's interest to risk a loss and invest in the knowledge you'll get by doing a DIY release. I'm sure I'll be eating my words in a few months when I can't afford to drink good beers, though."

Unrestrained, issue #24

Doomed If You Do, Doomed If You Don't...

Mountainous, monolithic, life-affirming and -damning: this is the sound of San Francisco's Asunder, and specifically their debut album, A Clarion Call. Molten in its movement, at times suffocating in its ominous expanse, "doomdeath" in an over-simplified sense.k AClarion Call is the sort of album that initially stuns you speechless - not only that a band has the audacity to crawl along at a pace even slower than the foremost funeral-doom-mongers, but that they can actually succeed in sucking you inward and downward into their majestically miserable morass, each minute as attention entangling as the next. And there's 40 of 'em here - minutes, that is - allocated to three towers of song, each inconspicuously shape-shifting and draped in sweeping swaths of cello, each aesthetically unified yet independent in their respective heights/depths. Shockingly stark, frequently disarming, and more than a bit intimidating, A Clarion Call personifies "sonic experience," and then some.

"It's really been an ongoing process for the past four or five years," says guitarist Geoff Evans, tracing steps from the band's comparatively humble split album with Like Flies on Flesh - which, truth be told, is enjoyably loopy in its own idiosyncratic manner - to their aesthetically elevated status today. "We had a lot of material that never developed into complete songs. If we'd actually recorded any of this stuff and released it, the progression would probably make more sense. There is one unreleased song that we actually did record, which is the missing link between these two releases, but will probably never be heard. When John [Gossard, guitarist/vocalist, ex- of Weakling and the Gault] joined the band, it opened up many harmonic possibilities that were not there with our previous guitarist [Seth Baker], and basically introduced another highly creative force within the band. Working with the cello was also an interesting experience, which we tried to incorporate into the live set as well, but ultimately proved to be beyond our means due to limitations within the live sound-reinforcement area. We're too loud to have an amplified acoustic stringed instrument without an excellent live PA."

"Before I joined and after the first split EP," Gossard joins in, "the band had written a 15-minute epic 'Of Wind and Wings,' which I think makes a little more clear the progression from the first release to the second. Hopefully we will resurrect that song in the future. Outside of that were the obvious influences of changing members, me replacing Seth and adding Alex on cello. There was a conscious effort to move in a more epic direction partially because one, we like that stuff, and two, Seth and Dino [Sommese, drums/vocals] started another band called Insideous, which was more death metal-focused, and we thought it more interesting if the two bands explored different territory."

To a point, the current Asunder sound, as portrayed on A Clarion Call, is not so much suffocating as gaping; not so much sad or depressing as smitten, resigned, stifled, and even a bit monastic; not so much doom metal as subtly, slowly billowing grey rain clouds of (at the core) sonic magma. Are these conscious aesthetic decisions, in light of those made by their (doomed) contemporaries?

"I don't think we had a conscious plan to make anything more than something that fits into the doom realm in general," comes Gossard's reply. "We all bring a pretty eclectic pile of influences to the table when trying to write, and often the riffs and melodies mutate a lot because we can't agree on what kind of music we want to play. In the end, though, we all generally agree that we don't want to finish writing a song until we're all happy with the result, so I think the result is something that covers more territory than bands pre-designed to be 'funeral doom,''stoner doom,' 'death doom,' or whatever. I'm glad it has ended up working thus far, and a bit surprised, actually, because a lot of my favourite music is much more purist."

"Yes, in a way," confirms Evans, with some qualification. "this is a conscious decision to not so much step out of, but look deeper into the aesthetics of doom. While I can identify with and respect the sad and depressing elements of doom , I think that there's another side to these themes. There is a certain implied sense of patience and quiet reverence within doom. I mean, there is a sort of spiritual context for this kind of contemplation, and I think that there is a larger horizon to be seen that contains all of these different perspectives."

That said, what are the band's conceptions of the alternately nebulous/stagnant "doom metal"? And, from their perspectives, how does Asunder satisfy/deviate from those conceptions?

"Well," Gossard measures his reply, "the lowest common denominator for me with doom is that it is slow and heavy, which we easily conform to. Right now, doom metal seems to be on the rise, and there are a lot more bands popping up all the time. The only thing I hear that connects all the genres of doom is being slow, heavy, and emotional - or attempting to sound emotional, anyway. The main problem is the same thing that's happened with black metal, where people feel in order to stay true to the genre, they must not stray from the guidelines set by the pioneers of each said genre, so more bands sound more and more alike. I'd like to think the thing that makes us sound unique is our songs sounding quite different from one another, because we aren't trying to nicely fit into any one aspect of the genre. Right now, the realms of exploration in the doom genre are still pretty wide open, so I don't consider anything we're doing a deviation, and I hope there are still some elements that don't satisfy the listener... it is doom, after is all."

"I have always felt an affinity with doom metal," Evans remarks, "and I think that it's the most interesting genre within metal, as it is very much alive, ironically, in that it is constantly changing and developing new sub-genres yet retains a clear tradition and link with all of the bands that came before. And unlike a lot of other metal, it has no real agenda or position, allowing a lot of different ideas and aesthetics to come in. I'm not really sure how people see/hear Asunder - I think it depends on what kind of stuff that you're into. I think that, at first, a lot of people can't follow the songs from start to finish, because of the length and slow movement, and don't recognize that there is a lot of subtle shifts and developments happening, but some people totally get it... Just a matter of taste, I suppose."

Bassist/vocalist Britt Hallett offers his perspective: "There's a very eclectic mixture of influences pouring into our work, and it certainly shows.k It's an amazing thing to have five people create something from nothing that has an actual audience, however small it may be - especially considering that we can hardly agree on the smallest detail of aesthetic decisions. We're all very meticulous about our craft and skills, and it couldn't be a mere coincidence that we've found each other, made music this long, and survived a few lineup changes - it's truly nothing short of amazing."

"The journey we take the listener on is a mostly accidental side effect of having recorded the songs for release," Gossard continues, turning attention toward A Clarion Call's deft 'n' deliberate sequencing. "Fro the most part, we're the ones who have to endure these 'journeys' over and over again in the practice space while trying to write them, so they end up being a journey we're all satisfied with taking several times over. Again, we aren't trying to take anyone on our journey, but assume that a few people who are already inclined to go on this sort of trip will take heed and follow. As for the parts versus the whole, each song musically was written as an independent journey, but the order of the songs and the flow of the lyrical themes was meant to follow in the order it appears on the album long before we recorded it, so I think there is a bit more depth to the journey when taken as a whole."

"Any journey, at all, is an accomplishment," shrugs Hallett. "The balance between sparseness and complexity is difficult with songs this long. There's a whole lot of subtlety that has to come off right."

So far (and most tragically, ironically), Asunder have had troubles finding a label to release A Clarion Call on CD - Nuclear War Now! Productions, on the other hand, will be imminently handling the vinyl version - and henceforth the band has decided to release it themselves, a situation they understandably feel divided about.

"We've had a couple of offers," laments Evan, "but are wary of losing rights and control over our music, and are reluctant to make any promises that we can't keep. We don't intend to ever be a band that tours excessively, and the sort of stuff that we're playing only appeals to a certain taste."

"Yeah, if you know anybody with a few thousand bucks burning a hole in his pocket," jokes Hallett. "No, really, if you can believe it, we're just not in a position to give our arduously crafted songs away to some shyster as is commonly done, it seems. Don't get me wrong; we could use the help, of course. But we're not out to be the biggest band in the world, and in turn, we're not willing to be exploited."

Looking toward Asunder's future, Hallett reveals, "We have another three songs in the writing process at the moment, similar to the album we're speaking of, maybe a little more complex and sophisticated. Once we're freed up a bit financially with the CD release of A Clarion Call, we'll be back in the studio to record."

"I think the new stuff sounds similar to the new album," Gossard signs off, "maybe more a few more funeral doomish riffs, possibly some classic doom vocals. The new material is halfway there and could go any sort of direction depending on the mood swings - or fist swings."

Asunder: A Clarion Call
Written by jeb at mindspell dot org
Tuesday, 02 November 2004

When this album started out with the mournful strains of a solitary cello that escalated into a dense wall of noise punctuated with "haunted monastery" chants, I expected the worse. I expected another foray into the depths of dark metal by a mediocre band whose only real link to music was via imitation of other mediocre dark metal bands. I was wrong. ASUNDER is a band that understands how to construct an aural monolith of staggering proportions. Taking the freeform dirges pioneered by the likes of SKEPTICISM or DISEMBOWLEMENT and mixing it with the classical vibes prominent in the dark metal, ASUNDER has developed a breed of quasi-doom that is distinctive and menacing. Not haunting & menacing. This isn't atmospheric music that swirls around you like some amorphous mist; this is an atmosphere that is tangible and thus suffocating. It is the sense of imminent harm versus a nebulous hint of danger. If this CD were to ever gain a widespread audience the pharmaceutical industry, specifically the arm of the industry dedicated to anti-depressants, would double its profits.

From Mindspell

Man, it has been a long time since I've heard anything from these guys. I think the last Asunder release I recall is their split with Like Flies on Flesh but then I didn't hear anything after that. Well, finally they are back with this brand new full-length disc that just simply amazed me from the moment the first riff of "Twilight Amaranthine" kicked in. Asunder play towering doom-metal that's as majestic and haunting as it is soul crushingly heavy. These guys really have a mastery of slow crawling tempos and thundering heaviness, while they incorporate cellos into the sound for an even more sublime feeling. I love the guitar on this disc from those saddening melodies and epic riffs to the occasional Sabbath-tinged lick. There's even a screaming solo in the title track that took me by surprise and just shows yet another of the many sides of the guitar work on this disc. The drumming is ultra slow and pounding which is perfect for this style of music and just keeps everything so dense and heavy that the listener never has a chance to breathe. Vocally the band uses a mix of vile, raspy growls and spoken word delivery which only helps enhance the amazing atmosphere of despair that this disc induces. This record is just a killer from start to finish. Only 4 tracks here but each one is over the 10 minute mark so you are getting 40+ minutes of the highest quality doom metal. The productionby none other than Billy Anderson is fantastic opting for a bit of a lo-fi feel while still bringing out the clarity and power of each instrument. This is one of the best and most powerful doom discs I've heard in awhile and should be a must listen for all doom fans out there. A great listen for fans of Morgion, My Dying Bride, Evoken and Cathedral.

From Daredevil

Works Will Come Undone

from Blabbermouth

It is funeral doom with a touch of class and it's a long one. Sit back and prepare for two whole tracks and 73 minutes of sadness. And you know what? San Francisco's ASUNDER does the genre proud on "Works Will Come Undone". Far more than just belly crawling (ok, there is a lot of crawling), riff clangs, and growls, the album's epic-length tracks take the listener on a journey that goes in many directions, as well as being drenched in majesty.

The album is quite beautiful in the way the band reaches down deep and turns emotions inside out. The arrangements on both tracks are exceedingly well done. The guitars of Geoff Evans and vocalist John Gossard craft a slew of terrific riffs. It will surprise no one that the melancholia in the guitar work is omnipresent, whether it is long sections of quiet light picking or mammoth riff crashes. Bassist Salvador Raya and drummer/vocalist Dino Sommese keep things interesting as well, the texture and nuance going a long way when even the slightest bit of coloration can be the difference between captivation and boredom. The X-factor is clearly the cello playing of Jackie Perez-Gratz (AMBER ASYLUM) that is heard throughout the album. It is truly amazing how one quiet instrument can turn an interesting arrangement into a heartfelt one. When combined with the low, chant-like vocals of Gossard and Sommese, the effect is almost spiritual.

The analog recording of doom messiah Billy Anderson is exceptionally well done too. The instrument separation is fantastic, the clarity perfect, and the feeling captured spine tingling. It is easily one of the better doom recordings I've heard.

I'll admit that when I heard the sentence, "it's 73 minutes, but only two tracks", my first thought was, "oh Christ!" But what a pleasant surprise "Works Will Come Undone" turned out to be. Assuming you're not looking for an adrenaline rush, you'll be shocked at how quickly song-length becomes meaningless. It is simply not an issue once the trip starts. Just keep in mind that the volume should be high and the lights low. Beyond that, "Works Will Come Undone" only requires that you allow yourself some time to get into the mood and then just go with the flow. Don't resist, just let the album take you on this 73-minute ride into the abyss. You may come out the other side a changed person.

- Scott Alisoglu

from Rebel Extravaganza

Asunder - Works Will Come Undone - Profound Lore Records 2006
2 Songs
Running Time: 72:45

Dear Mike Scheidt,
It is with great thanks that I send you this epistle, in gratitude for providing me with hours of musical enjoyment due to your fervent recommendation of Asunder's debut full-length, A Clarion Call, back in 2004. I knew that with your stamp of approval, I was in for an engaging listen, and it was exactly that. Though most funeral doom contains more than its share of meandering passages played by bands who mistake wandering aimlessly about the musical landscape hoping something of note is magically created, Asunder drew me in from the first notes of "Twilight Amaranthine", and I haven't looked back since. I have enclosed for your perusal my thoughts on Asunder's sophomore release, Works Will Come Undone, in an attempt to show my appreciation for expanding my musical horizons.

Forlorn, dejected chords hang in the mist, John Gossard's vocals slightly reminiscent of latter-day Morgion, coloured by the subtle cello of Amber Asylum's Jackie Perez-Gratz, which lends an air of the orchestral to opening track "A Famine". Asunder never moves faster than a snail's pace, weaving between ancient oaks with the unhurried, but no less damaging gait of a brontosaurus. Sure, the beast moves slowly, but you still wouldn't want one to step on you, if you get my drift. Easily defined as being from the early Anathema / Thergothon school of doom, this San Francisco quintet are proud graduates nonetheless. Drummer and background vocalist Dino Sommese chimes in after around eight minutes, lending weight to the belief that Asunder is truly in no hurry to get anywhere, except maybe buried. Soon after, when the dual guitars meld with the cello, Perez-Gratz has her strings take the part of a third guitar, resulting in a resonance that few bands can lay claim to, doom or no. Returning producer Billy Anderson is the perfect fit for Asunder, letting the guitars hang free, raw, and hairy as the NoCal bud the band "might" have "a passing familiarity" with. The cello takes a more upfront role in the first minutes of album ender "The Rite Of Finality", Geoff Evans' guitar joining Gossard in acoustic reflection. After around seven minutes, once the vocals have disappeared, Asunder sets about forging a sonic tapestry which - though vast and rich in splendour - is tortured as all Hell. At the same time, a glimmer of the triumphant lurks within "The Rite Of Finality". Somewhere between the pinch harmonics, Salvador Raya's sublevel bass, and the crashing drums of Sommese, Asunder have shown that in the midst of death, there is rebirth. Suddenly, all is gone but the trembling throb of a faintly-beating heart, sometimes barely discernable through the drone, but always there. It is, to these ears, a musical picture of the haunting and haunted emotions brought forth by the band. Otherworldly chants fade in and out of the mix here and there during this section of the song, which carries on through the end of the album. Taking that sort of time on one theme (even within the genre of doom) can be disastrous, coming across as unwieldy in the hands of some. Asunder use their time wisely, though, morphing the music just enough to keep things interesting, fraught with the spirit of experimentation, yet still aware of the traditional element within their art. Isisian in their dedication to atmosphere, guttural chants return, as does the aforementioned throb before the end of the piece. No cello is present at this time, but the movement remains orchestral in its own despondent way.

A captivating journey through realms of sadness, bereavement, and all things funereal, Asunder's Works Will Come Undone is certain to be heralded as a milestone in doom for those who have ears to hear.

2004 - 2005 Rebel Extravaganza -

from CMJ

ASUNDER: Works Will Come Undone
What's heavier than a 22-minute, plodding doom metal dirge? Why, a 50-minute dirge with a cello solo, of course. Now that the genre seems to have lost footing amongst hipsterati, the time seems right for Oakland's underground emperors Asunder to reemerge with their trademarked orchestral epochs of depression. Centered around Dino Sommese, former vocalist/drummer for Bay Area crust-metalloids Dystopia, Asunder rarely plays live and keeps their recordings to small, hard-to-find affairs. And with such an aversion to publicity, their forward-thinking interpretation of doom hasn't stretched far beyond underground metal's insular clique. Asunder's full-length follow-up to 2004's . . .A Clarion Call. . . album contains all the musical contrast they can experiment with in the space of 73 minutes. After 20 minutes of slow-burning metal fuselage, the near-hourlong "Rite Of Finality" is rendered mostly quiet for close to half an hour, with a didgeridoo-esque, barely audible bass drone connecting the footslogging cymbal battery to the eminent silence on either end the song. And nothing sounds more free than when the dark riffing throughout "A Famine" meets up with Alex Bale- Glickman's cello and Sommese's near-Gregorian chanting. Despite the songs' length, this album's only weakness is ending too soon.
- Kory Grow

from Paper Thin Walls

ASUNDER- Works Will come Undone

The doom metal aesthetic whittled down to 20 words or less: The tuning (how low can you go?), the pace (how slow can you go?) and the tone (how fucking miserable can you be?). And then, of course, there's the bottomless distortion, the distended/guttural vocal incantations and the infinite patience required to make it (without getting stoned to the Bejesus Belt) through the typically epic running times that the idiom demands. So it's no surprise that this Oaktown pentangle's second full-length (fourth release overall), Works Will Come Undone, consists of only two seemingly interminable tracks: Opener "A Famine" clocks in at 22:26, while closer "The Rite Of Finality" is an album unto itself at 50:21, the final 26 minutes of which is an ominous, sustained power drone punctuated by indecipherable munchkin chatter. (You're only getting about eight-and-a-half minutes worth of the former here, but that's a pretty accurate taste of what you're in for.) But Asunder -- with a lineup that includes vocalist/guitarist John Gossard of one-off black metal horde Weakling and cellist Jackie Gratz of neo-classical/post-rock experimentalists Amber Asylum -- don't just bring the doom, they bring the funeral doom, a style that slows the wheels of despondency to a near-glacial pace, plumbing the depths of temporal asphyxiation while (in Asunder's case anyway) incorporating a monastic-chant ambience designed to invoke some kind of ancient funeral rite. Or at least that's what it seems like: "A Famine" starts off like an Eye Of Every Storm-era Neurosis jam (or something from Steve Von Till's solo debut, As The Crow Flies) -- with an echo-drenched chant over a series of sparse guitar chords -- before the bottom drops out, the distortion kicks in and Gossard's vocals plummet towards the cookie jar as Gratz's cello provides the funeral to the rest of the band's doom. And so it goes, mighty and booming (or is it majestic and thundering?) for a glorious and continuous 22:26, while the disciples of misery mongers like Paradise Lost, Graves At Sea and Disembowelment load up on pain killers and prepare themselves, once again, for the long slow goodbye. - J. BENNETT

from Subterra

Asunder - Works Will Come Undone
Profound Lore Records

Tessék elkönyvelni, hogy az Asundert már azelott felfedeztük, mielott arról tudomást szereztünk volna, hogy a Weaklingben és a The Gaultban egyaránt elévülhetetlen érdemeket szerzett John Gossard tagja a csapatnak, így mindenki biztos lehet abban, hogy nem csak beképzeljük magunknak a zenekar vitathatatlan kiválóságát. Egy olyan mufajban muködnek ugyanis, amiben elég nehéz kimondottan rosszat alkotni, tudniillik, a funeral doom keretei annyira végletesen szukek, hogy a sokak szerint szintén egysíkú black metal hozzá képest egy komplett zenei univerzum.

Lassú, mázsás riffeket egy kezdo gitáros is ki tud találni, ezeket a végtelenségig - de legalább a hallgatók turéshatárának végéig - ismételgetni nem teljesítmény, mégis, a hatás garantált, hiszen az unalom, a történések hiánya elszomorít, depresszióba taszít, tehát a produktum többnyire célba ér, hatással van a hallgatóra, ezzel pedig már papíron el is van intézve a dolog.
Asunder - Works Will Come Undone

Hanem az Asunder tényleg tud valamit, valószínuleg a kiváló Gossard úr is érezte ezt, és ezért szállt be röviddel a bemutatkozó A Clarion Call elott a csapatba. Az akkor mutatott stílus nem változott most sem, minden hivalkodás, és különösebb újítások nélkül hozzák ki magukból a korábbiakhoz természetesen hasonló, mégis másmilyen ízeket. Ugyanis érezhetoen kiforrottabb a zene, a dallamosság és a gonosz kiállások összehangoltabbak, bár elsore kevésbé hat hallgatóbarátnak az anyag, ezt támasztja alá az albumon található összesen két dal és a 73 perces hossz, pláne, hogy az utolsó 26 minutum mindössze halk gitárgerjedés, ami talán túlzás, de összességében nincs vele gond. Hogy aztán mégis jelentosen több elmerüléssel töltött órát jelent elodjeinél a Work Will Come Undone, az csak a késobbiekben válik nyilvánvalóvá, szinte észrevétlenül csap hegymagasságokba az amúgy is nagy ívu muzsika. Kérlelhetetlen türelemmel idozített váltások, ízlésesen megválasztott csúcspontok, ikerharmóniák és dallamok elegáns összefonódása figyelheto meg.

Az énekhang öblös és elég érces is egyben, remekül passzol a vaskos alaphoz, a dörreno gitárrengeteghez és az öntöttvas dobverokkel (szókép!) vonszolt ritmushoz, ám szükség szerint változatos, kello idoben egyszeru és mély dallamokat is használ. Hangulatában egészségesen szomorú, komor, igazán emberi érzésekkel átitatott mu, semmi eroltetett bizarrkodás, sirám vagy jajveszékelés, nem kell megháborodni a feldolgozás során, könnyen társítható hétköznapjaink lassan maró emócióihoz, be nem teljesedett vágyakhoz, az oszi paletta matt színeihez.

rtp & a' ördög

9.5 / 9


ASUNDER - Works Will Come Undone
Profound Lore Records

Funeral doom / Ambient Drone

2 songs (72'47")
Release year: 2006
Asunder, Profound Lore Records

I am blaming it all on My Dying Bride. A Line of Deathless Kings did it again. Once I hear an album by these Brits I am going on a non-stop doom binge. Anything that has the name doom attached to it - stoner, funeral, gothic, dark - as long as the music feels sad, my soul is yearning for it. Such state can last for weeks on end.

San Francisco underground notables Asunder caught me in the right state of mind. Not that I ever have particular difficulty listening to the long doom tracks, but, still, you must feel pretty special to go for a 22 min sojourn first, only to be followed by another 50 min slab of heavy despair.

A Famine has me completely wrapped around Asunder's collective finger. Starting from afar, tuning the orchestral pit alongside woofing amps, Asunder unveil an awesome display of sheer grief and funeral doom. This is the music where you will either want to off yourself in the end, or come out completely cleansed and reborn. Full with crushing minor descending lines, A Famine goes with lumbering rhythmic steadiness, their ebb and flow positioned somewhere between the heart barely beating and the completely flat monitor line. When you think A Famine is over, it is lifted out of the doldrums by Dino Sommese's drumming which incredibly reaches into a double bass territory to allow the composition to say its final goodbye.

Billy Anderson's (Neurosis, High on Fire) analog recording is very warm and clear. One of the unique Asunder touches is Jackie Perez-Gratz playing cello on this recording. Adding both melody and tenderness, these cello lines sometimes sound like an oboe or clarinet. Often they run against moaning guitar leads which can veer off melody and even appear a bit out of tune. Asunder vocals are not bottom of the barrel guttural scrapes, and that fits well with the rest of the fold.

Monumental Rite of Finality presents another face of the band. At first, the same serene waves of warmth come over you with the cello leading the way. Asunder and How Like a Winter one more time show that a classical string instrument, if used properly, can be a powerful tool in the hands of a doom band. The warm waves, however, run into a wavebreaker, in the form of a crushing slowdown, guitar leads bordering on dissonance and overall horror atmosphere. Compared to A Famine, Rite of Finality is a much darker affair on the whole. Then, somewhere midway through the song, Asunder does a 180 degree turnaround changing from funeral doom to an ambient drone. Hollow eerie silence lasts way too long with the amps coming back to life in a pulsating chug only towards the very end, subliminal shamanic whispers in the background. This is way too SunnO))) for me, way too elitist and somehow completely canceling the despair feeling of the first 40 - 45 min. Perhaps, there is an explanation where after being squashed the band allows the listener to drift out for 20 - 25 min. I simply did not mind to wallow in my own misery a little more.

Strong effort, it will be interesting to see if other doom fans, more knowledgeable than yours truly, will also have a split opinion of the dichotomy presented on Works Will Come Undone. Whatever their opinion, I can completely recommend the excellent funeral doom part of the album. Just keep those razor blades, nooses and other self-maiming objects away.

Killing Songs : A Famine Alex 77 / 100


Doom album of '06?

Asunder ain't exactly reinventing the steel, here, but God Hell, is this some good stuff. Taking the old-school funeral approach of Thergothon and Skepticism and injecting just enough melody to make it stick - without becoming the gothic mope-crawl of Shape of Despair or Saturnus (who I likewise dig, so save your breath) is. . . . a really long sentence. It's also dead goddamn on.

I was a little thrown at first by the warmth of the engineering/mix; most funeral doom acts have a calculated, cold sterility that is part of the charm. But the more I listened, the more it made sense. This is pure analog, therefore, purely human. This is not some robot boo-hoo-ishness, these are some real dudes in a real room, going full-on suicidal, like Jim Jones guest speaking at Spahn Ranch around a mammoth evidentiary bonfire. And at 72 minutes (only two songs) you'll have plenty of time to let it sink in. And it will sink in.

Doom album of '06. Book it.

By Jeff Lamb