Slough Of Despair – “Catacombs Of Terror” (Chaos Records / Personal Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Amply living up to their wretched name, Slough Of Despair was formed only a couple of years ago when guitarist Panos Lampropoulos (ex-Ordeal, Age of Sorrow, Chamber of Malevolence, Mallediction, ex-Chthonian Alchemy, ex-Necrorgasm, ex-Devathorn (live)) left his previous band. Recruiting experienced and talented musicians around him, including vocalist Kostas Velnias (Aeon Dust, Serpent’s Order, Withering Skies, ex-Horror Lord, ex-Nipenthis (live), ex-Odin’s Court, ex-Night of the Dark Ages) and drummer Dimitris Sakkas (Blessed, Feeble, Horrorgraphy, Humanity Zero, Inhibitions, Misanthropy Apotheosis, Skarz, ex-Buried Emotion, ex-Heathendom), Slough Of Despair recorded this debut just over a year ago in Athens, Greece. With the line-up completed by the addition of Nick Crimstein (bass) and guitarist Giannis Tziligkakis, expect a horror show of epic proportions with slumbering doom death riffs graced by funeral melodies throughout the seven bountifully grim tracks here. After the eerie ambient intro, ‘Burial Of Sanity’ opens to chugging riffs and bleak melodies reminiscent of early Paradise Lost, picking up slowly as the double bass pedals hit while Velnias’ ghoulish drawls and tormented screams retain the feeling of death throughout this morbid number. Slithering in with dark melodies on ‘Disease Of Human Minds’, the song builds through the twin guitars creeping upon you while Velnias drawls are like death itself whispering in your final moments as this 7-minute number brilliantly alternates in tempo and mood while always keeping the trepidation foremost in your mind. Plodding at the pace of a woolly mammoth, ‘Humanity’s Crucifixion’ soon unloads its menace as the heavy guitars start to chunder away to Velnias’ hollow, unforgiving roars that occasionally wail in withering melody only to re-begin the torture that is ceaseless throughout this brilliant debut. As depressive as it is captivating, this is chilling stuff indeed.