Capilla Ardiente – “Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness” (High Roller Records)
A highly apt title coming from this Chilean doom metal band that mix the old school with their own Latin funeral rites – literally as their name translates as ‘burning chapel’! Formed by bassist Claudio Botarro Neira and his ex roadie Felipe Plaza Kutzbach now promoted to vocal supremo, they have built a superb band especially in Julio Borquez’s melancholic classical guitar work. Musically straight from the crypts of Candlemass and also Solitude Aeturnus, Capilla Ardiente stick wisely to the basics of deep, drowning classic doom riffs played at just the right slow tempo, although not at plodding pace. Kutzbac’s vocals have a definite soulful sound, although harking more towards an epic feel rather than an operatic one whilst the aforementioned Borquez’s Spanish guitars add a definite and refreshing Latin feel to songs like ‘Towards The Midnight Ocean’, ‘They Who Were Lost And Now Are Cursed’, and ‘Into Unknown Lands’. For the main, Francisco Aguirre’s drums maintain a prefect black marching beat although he occasionally has Bill Ward moments of madness all over his kit again adding a pleasant and certainly awaking variation to the otherwise steadfast doom beat. The lyrics are mostly focused on inner and deep convictions, will and the struggle man must fight to rise and escape the claws of mediocrity, conformity and dogmatic chains, expressed in a cryptic but translucent way. Stylishly played, heavy enough to appreciate and with excellent production, Capilla Ardiente’s Latin take on what is essentially a northern hemisphere style is a truly interesting one and definitely befitting its place as one of the best doom albums this year, if not internationally, certainly so for South America.