Belgian Lethvm have been busy making people drop their jaws with “This Fall Shall Cease”, released in November 2017. What we have here is a fine record consisting of doom metal meets sludge and then reinforced by extreme metal, which gives the album a much-needed dynamic in order to not become something sullen or even boring. Then, the band infuses the right amount of smart melody into the mix, so it doesn’t become predictable. This could be any given band in the genre’s… until you start hearing intelligent and well-weighed black metal passages, that is.
Intro “Impetius” doesn’t add much info of what to expect, though the doom vibe is there, but when “Wandering At Dawn” starts you get the feeling something good is to come, which it does: this track is the perfect business card with thick guitars that crawl and writhe, a feverish and despaired voice and some very nice acoustic moments in between.
Runner up “The Last Grave” slows down the tempo just a notch, entering the realm of old-school doom metal with that modern sludge feel that bands like Cough usually impresses us with. This track also features clean singing per se, fortunately delivered by a very versatile vocalist, which is yet another pro. Still, the best track comes next in the form of “Winter’s Journey”, and do things REALLY start to shine here! It’s main riff, melancholic and epic, is first grade stuff all over, coupled again with sludgy, infatuated vocals but also with clean choruses, and the band manages to truly show how good it is by mixing a little bit of this and a pinch of that and come up with a straight-on catchy tune.
It goes without saying that keeping the listener interested and wanting him to continue is what’s really difficult in this genre, and yet Lethvm deliver impressively. Coming next is “Shades of Minerva”, which only seems to emphasize the previous track: more aggressive, doomy, and gloomy, here the main riff takes the spotlight once again with an unusual catchiness and the same sludgy / clean voice gimmick that now starts to make sense and making you think “it couldn’t be anything other than this”. By the time “An Encounter With The Sun” hits the start mark, one realizes how much effort the band has put in the record’s production: the overall sound is crisp (having in mind the band’s musical style, that is), fluid, and careful. In fact, you can hear every single instrument and voice, not too much, not too little, everything just perfectly balanced. Final track “Ejla” is another good example of how deliberate Lethvm are, starting with an ambient feeling made up only of strings and murmuring voices that go on until the 4:36 mark and that then bursts into a sludge / doom feast for approximately 2 minutes and then ends like it began.
The best comes last: this is Lethvm’s debut record, which is nothing short of impressive. Add that to the fact that the band isn’t even 3 years old and it’s easy to see that these boys are going places very soon. The only more visible downer here is maybe the band’s shyness in expressing themselves with more confidence, aiming for higher plains, but then again, this is their debut, and a very damn fine one at that. Watching Lethvm live should be one of your priorities this year, so catch them on the road if you can. “This Fall Shall Cease” is certain to be playing here for quite some time.