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Homo Homini Lupus

Roxx (2014)
Rating: 4/10

A seven-track affair, Homo Homini Lupus – the sixth full-length studio opus by Swiss Christian doom metal brigade Pÿlon – comes two years after the average The Harrowing Of Hell, and the quintet continues on its path of mediocre metal I’m afraid.

Although I’m a huge fan of doom metal, I find this opus a tad thin on the ground when it comes to the crushing, sorrowful grooves I’ve come to expect over the years from doom metal acts. Firstly, the vocals of Jordan Cutajar (Nomad Son) are rarely above average; he tends to have a rather non-descript style which fits well into contemporary melodic metal, but it’s not a voice that imposes itself upon an album.

Musically, the band is tight yet rarely morose as they tend to drift on the surface of modern doom metal without any real rainy effect. The twin guitar attack of Oliver Schneider and Matt Brand allows the album to flow with ease like a black river into the sea, but there’s an overall lack of bite, especially vocally and in the percussion of Beni Mayer.

Yes, doom metal comes in all shapes and guises, but Homo Homini Lupus is a record I can quickly become tired of as tracks such as ‘Al Ha’Har’, ‘Saligia’ and ‘Crucifer’ seem to rely too heavily on melody, instead of crushing the listener. Melodic doom metal is something I can take or leave, especially as there is many times that a band of this ilk often veers off into traditional metal warble, as with the case of ‘Crowned’.

Although there are some nice solos throughout, the record tends to just dawdle along, and then we reach the climax which is the unusual cover version of Slayer’s ‘South Of Heaven’. This seems a rather perplexing entry for a Christian band, but, oh well. Each to their own, but it doesn’t save this tepid opus from being just another metal album.

Oddly, the only time I really enjoyed the album was with the instrumental track ‘Ils Se Donnent Du Mal’ where drums, bass and guitar seemed extremely cohesive and provided extra weight and depth, but it also provided respite from the rather irritating vocals which drag this record down into the depths of mediocrity far too many times.

I think that the mix of speedier traditional elements and occasional slower, doomier segments doesn’t really work for Pÿlon, but they’ve reached their sixth album, so there must be some people out there liking this sort of glossy yet ambling procession of the average.

Neil Arnold

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