Nobody can accuse UK doom metallers The River of rushing out albums. After all, Vessels Into White Tides is only their third album in a twenty year career. However, one listen to this album and it’s crystal clear that the six year gap since their last release – the exquisite En No Ozunu EP – has been time well spent for the band….. and well worth the wait for us!
Kicking off with the colossal “Vessels” it becomes apparent that The River positively revel in taking their sweet-arsed time (11 mins, to be precise) but time soon flies when you get fully involved with their hefty riffs and the velvety richness of Jenny Newton’s voice; her breathy delivery at times bringing to mind Dido…..which is not the kind of comparison we’re used to making!
After the intensity of the, relatively straight forward, opening track, The River’s snaking tributaries then fully branch out and show us what they are capable of. The 15 minutes of “Into White” is heavy enough to shift tectonic plates – whilst incorporating plenty of passages of light and shade – and, just when you think you have The River all figured out, they drop the pastoral perfection of “Open” and finish with the haunting instrumental “Tides”.
To simply describe this outstanding album as ‘doom’ is to do it a great disservice. There’s also elements of drone, indie rock, prog and goth alongside strong hints of Neurosis throughout Vessels Into White Tides’ 5 tracks, with the albums’ intensely claustrophobic feel nestling next to moments of shimmering beauty…..and none of it feels forced in any way. 9/10
Vessels Into White Tides
Label: Nine Records
Released: December 11th, 2019