Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pendulous-A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss


Now signed to Baneful Genesis Records*, Pendulous** is a doom metal band from Los Angeles, California that was formed in 2011. Having shared the stage with the likes of Evoken, Bell Witch, Primitive Man, Windhand, Atriarch, and Mournful Congregation (among countless others) this popular (and frankly rather innovative) L.A. band made it's studio debut in 2013 with "Mirrored Confessions". That 21 minute EP was just the beginning for Pendulous though as nothing could have prepared fans and critics for an album like "A Palpable Sense Of Love & Loss"! At nearly sixty minutes(!) this is the kind of release a band like Pendulous needs in order to make the leap from local favorites to national treasure. With the addition of second guitarist Nicholas Rocha (Deathkings) and a expansive catalog of influences from which to pick and choose (everything from funeral doom to dark metal) the band's full-length debut has so much to offer for the discerning doom metal fan. We'll get to that bit shortly. First things first. Let's talk about the overarching sound of "A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss". The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered by John Haddad at Trench Studios (Intronaut, Exhumed, Phobia, Abysmal Dawn, Hirax) and for Pendulous it's a near-perfect backdrop for the story that they wish to tell. To that end one simply couldn't ask for a better "storyteller" than lead vocalist E.R.M. (Eric Rezső Mendoza ). This former Dona Eis Requiem front-man moves effortlessly between clean and harsh vocals and with someone as all-capable as he is leading the way there's no telling just how far this band will go! With a surrounding cast of characters that makes all-encompassing death metal mood music for the doom metal minded this L.A. act is clearly on the rise. All of which brings us to this album. A lengthy spoken word intro opens things up on the appropriately-titled  "A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss" before the nearly nine minute(!) car-crusher that is "A Faltering Will" works it's way into the picture. It's not the longest track of the lot (as that would be "Closure" with it's run-time of 11:48!), but it does the job that it was hired to do and it does it oh so well. And that job would be slowing grinding the listener under the weight of it's overpowering and oppressive boot while sadly humming a melancholy tune! Sounds pleasant right? You bet your life it is! Much likes "40 Years" it's all about squeezing the most of the music while making sure that there is always one eye focused on the prize. Everything about "A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss" is aimed towards the bigger picture. It's the idea that doom metal can be miserable and menacing. It can be overpowering and naturally oppressive. It can crush it's enemy and bury it's bones under rubble. But that does not mean that it has to be pure noise. It can have structure and be well-conceived. "A Faltering Will" is heavy alright, but it's also full of purpose and it has it's own distinct charm. Then again so does "Hibernal Sun". Unlike "A Faltering Will" though it's not so much about death/doom as it is post-rock. It's a different side to this band and yet it fits perfectly with the overall atmospheric vibe that Pendulous was aiming for. The same can be said of "Pendant World". It's more in line with death rock, but it to fits a pattern that is started early on with Pendulous and their debut full-length and it's one that ends with the subtle, piano-driven beauty that is "Memoirs". Without a doubt this is one of the most compelling doom metal albums of 2015 as well as one of the most genre-splitting. Doom fans are going to want to check this album out.

*Independently-released, "A Palpable Sense of Love & Loss" is due to receive a special vinyl treatment thanks to Baneful Genesis Records.

**pen·du·lous adj \-ləs\
1 : poised with no visible support, or hanging downward.
3 : marked by vacillation (between polar opposites),and uncertainty. 

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