Conviction – “Conviction” (Argonauta Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Featuring members from Temple Of Baal, Ataraxie, Mourning Dawn and Moonskin, this is the debut from French doom metal outfit Conviction and mighty depressive it is too – although highly catchy in all its down tuned magnificence! Taking it right back to the classic days of Saint Vitus, Pentagram and Count Raven, the 8 meaty tracks here are resplendent in darkness and gloom, while still have a touch of modernity thanks to some classic French suaveness. From Olivier Verron’s movingly sorrowful vocals all sung in perfect English along with his gargantuan guitar matched by fellow axeman Frédéric Patte-Brasseur delivering the deathly riffs aplenty, songs like ‘Voices Of The Dead’ simply crush through their sheer power, leaving the amps smouldering and humming as well as your own body shaking from the riff reverberations – not to mention excitement from the morbid melodies inducing a trippy touch of their own into the netherworld. Chugging away massively on ‘Curse Of The Witch’, Verron tastefully switches his vocals into true metal while Patte-Brasseur matches through his own wailing heavy metal breaks before switching into a very cool slower doom death headbanging groove later topped off by an exquisitely mournful solo as the song culminates as explosively as it had started – brilliant! Heading into funeral death on ‘Wrong Life’, the thick dirty riffs bath you in sombreness as the melodies wail in unison to Verron’s melancholic tones in what is easily the deepest song on this self-titled debut, yet possessed of unexpected uplift through its neo classical like solos amid its obvious depression. Ending in the 11-minute epic of ‘My Sanctuary’, Conviction mix it up through syrup thick funeral death matched by some excellent backing vocals from Patte-Brasseur and bassist Vincent Buisson really adding to the mood of grief and oncoming death, brilliantly offsetting their power with quieter moments to really lush up the atmosphere while allowing the solos to shine spectacularly along with Verron’s vocal lead that itself almost takes on trance proportions towards the end of this monumental song, and indeed incredible album!