Arcane doom metallers Gévaudan have been on the UK doom metal scene since 2013 and although we’ve been treated to two fine EP’s (Message For The Damned and Litost), not until now have we been furnished with a debut full length album. Patience is a virtue and, fortunately for doom lovers, patience has been rewarded!
“Dawntreader” is a relatively delicate opener, a carefully conceived, hushed and emotional beginning that builds and builds in intensity and is anchored by a fantastic, classic doom vocal performance from Adam Pirmohamed. It’s a stunning song – familiar in construct to those who are enamoured by the likes of Trouble, Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus, Witchfinder General and Pagan Altar – but powerful and unique enough to herald Gévaudan as way more than mere doom metal also rans. Incidentally, Pirmohamed’s howl at the 6 and a half minute mark is a real skin-crawler. You have been warned!
“Maelstrom” positively speaks for itself as it whips up a tumultuous storm of crushing riffs which engulf the senses but you can hear that for yourselves…..
The lumbering drum intro of “The Great Heathen Army” is an instant winner and the Sabbathian riff that follows is even better, with Gévaudan seriously finding their own footing amongst dooms hallowed foundations. “Saints Of Blood” is colossal, shifting its dead-weight thorough a cavalcade of emotion; namely fear and hate. When some bollock-breaking death growls then enter the fray, Gévaudan find themselves rivalling Paradise Lost in the ‘heavy’ stakes. These growls are sparingly used but by Christ, when they hit, they hit damn hard!
Closing with the 15(!) minutes of “Duskwalker” is a bravura move but one that’s rewarded by the sheer scope of this fine song. Sharing a kinship with fellow UK epic doom-mongers Desolate Pathway, “Duskwalker” – and Iter as a whole – attacks the gates of Valhalla with a vigour and bluster usually reserved for the Gods themselves and its dense riffs, haunting vocals and scene-setting atmospherics positively rumble with the sound of true fuckin’ doom.
Suitably epic without once sounding self-important, Gévaudan have a canny knack for making the vintage sound vital, and Iter is a mesmerising throwback to the days of expertly constructed sojourns into hypnotic storytelling and journeys both illuminating and yet cast in shadow.
Iter is an outstanding debut from a band whose lofty doom credentials are clear to hear.
5 tracks, 5 absolute winners. Bravo! 9/10