SubRosa have been described as an experimental sludge-doom metal band from Salt Lake City, Utah. Coming from a well known religious hub makes this band that little bit more intriguing. This album is inspired by the Sci-fi novel “We” written in 1921, the book describes a familiar future wherein human imagination, desire, and revolution are oppressed. Also for the first time the band tackles the issue of church vs lifestyle. Bearing that all in mind let us move onto the music. The band setup is guitar, bass, drums and two violin players with this being the bands fifth full length. The full weight of the band can be felt with the traditional instrumentation but add the violins and a fresh haunting and melancholic atmosphere is instantly invoked. Yes, they are not the first band to use this attack but they are one of the first outside “My Dying Bride” that have used it to show stopping effect.
This is not a record that can be taken lightly and needs attention paid to it to soak up the full effect of what they have produced. Opener “Despair is a Siren” clocks in at over fifteen minutes and is carried along with the most minimalist of drum beats which allows the guitars and violins to really engage the listener and take them on a journey along with Rebecca Vernon’s powerful and threatening vocals. Vernon’s vocals can also hide in the shadows; they are at times almost childlike which provides a stark contrast to her power. “Wound of the Warden” has pounding riffs which take on an almost post rock edge with the violins weaving in between the thick low-end with subtle melodies. “Black Majesty” begins quietly before lurching into a gut busting riff and apocalyptic drumming with one violin screeching while the other complements it with yet another melody. Rarely does a record come along that you could wax lyrical about each and every individual track, this is one of those records. A stunning record and one which will have me digging into their back catalogue post haste. A welcomed discovery.
Despair is a Siren
Wound of The Warden
Rebecca Vernon – Guitar + Vocals
Sarah Pendleton – Violin + Vocals
Kim Pack – Violin + Vocals
Levi Hanna – Bass
Andy Patterson – Drums