Overall Score: 8/10 Riffs: 9/10 Originality: 7/10 Trad Factor: 9/10 Pros: A great balance of tempos Cons: No complaints really
Here’s something to soundtrack the long and arduous trudge through a dismal January. Conviction’s self-titled debut album is a bludgeoning weapon of traditional doom. Unrushed, slow-cooked tracks mixed with a gothic-tinged vocal delivery conjure up comparisons with some classic Saint Vitus and the graveyard mizzle of My Dying Bride.
This is certainly one of those albums where you can hear the album cover, with the miserable emaciated looking character on the sleeve depicting the band’s melancholic vibes perfectly.
The opening introduction of Prologue provides a suitable welcome to an album that is blanketed in the thick fog of atmospheric doom. It’s no surprise to see the band propping up a few headstones in their promo photographs as Conviction fall into a very stereotypical brand of sepia-toned gothic rock. Thankfully, although they don’t bring much in the way of originality to the table, they are bloody good at treading this well-worn path.
They should be too, with the band made up of members of Temple of Baal, Ataraxie, Moonskin and Mourning Dawn, they already have some serious riffs on the clock.
As you’d expect, there’s some endurance tests on here. Big long songs go hand-in-hand with doom records, and there’s plenty of tracks that near the ten-minute mark. The first proper track after the intro, Voices of the Dead, really encapsulates what Conviction do here on their debut long player. Slow building, mournful and crushing for the majority of the track but ending in a crescendo of choppy riffs and guitar solos; Conviction have a great mix of tempos to throw at us.
When the guitar solos start flying, they really sound unstoppable too. There’s plenty of little Paradise Lost style flourishes distributed across the album and then the combination of dual guitars from Frederic and Olivier can really shred when they want to. Try Castles Made of Shame for some face-melting fretboard work.
The marmite factor for most with Conviction will be with the vocals. Gloomy riffs and lumbering rhythms are good for all, but Olivier Verron’s clean singing perhaps stamps this brand of doom as strictly from the traditional category. The orchestral qualities in Outworn are a prime example of the super-clean choirman in action, especially during the gang vocals. In his more shouty moments, he is more reminiscent of Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes; just a bit more Perrier than Yorkshire Tea.
That said, there are some bursts of guttural growling in songs such as Curse of the Witch that come straight from the early Mikael Akerfeldt playbook. These, along with the eruptions of riffing swagger that punctuate the album, keep you interested throughout and stop it being a constant wash of melancholy.
Overall, Conviction deliver exactly what they promise to with this album. It’s a great piece of traditional doom with enough twists and turns to keep you listening to the end. A splendid chunk of misery to start off the new year!
Conviction by Conviction is released on the 22nd of January 2021 through Argonauta Records. Pre-order the album on this link.