More than 7 years of waiting, a new studio album, which is not a studio at all. This is 5th album of Finnish doom metal band Skepticism. ‘Ordeal’ was recorded live, on January 24th in Turku, Finland. Some may say the band took the cheaper way, without properly renting a studio and just recording live. But we don’t really think this is the explanation here. Unorthodox approach led to recording being lively, never mind that this is funeral doom metal we are talking about. It also left no room for errors.
Imagine recording an album live, straight out of instruments’ lines and you can feel the intensity and pressure it put on musicians. ‘Ordeal’ is not an album with sterile sound; it is quite rough and honest. Live recording gave an authentic atmospheric sound, with dynamic keyboard lines and harshly put vocals. If you are familiar with previous albums and sound of Skepticism, you can tell straight away it’s different. It’s not boring or monotonous, as some can expect from doom genre.
It may happen that fans won’t recognize the band from this recording, as the sound of the album is so multi-layered. Re-phrasing what guitarist Jani Kekarainen put: “Album is about life and ordeal is life”. The opener for album is a song, titled ‘You’, a true opener which sets the style for rest of songs. It’s atmospheric, it’s melodic and after a few minutes it opens up quite epically into a picture of ordeal and battles. It is being followed by ‘Momentary’ and ‘The Departure’ which are also full of epics. Surely if you have piece of imagination – you will see people getting ready to fight for the last time.
After that comes ‘March Incomplete’, a full-blown 12 minutes ballad, with a quite remarkable twist in the middle of it, and also some very nice and formidable guitar riffs. This song ends the first part of the album, hypothetically speaking.
By this time you can already like this album. It’s not loading you with a bunch of sounds; it’s not impending on you. It goes with the flow. The second part of the album start with an intense song called ‘The Road’. This one is probably the loudest song of the album. Massive riffs, 7 minutes long, all in. I can imagine this song is telling a story of battles lost and battles won. A song that had to be recorded for the album, otherwise it wouldn’t be complete. After this intensity comes ‘Closing Music’. In my opinion, the closest to funeral doom metal. It is full of tragic in the end, full of beautifully put melodics, and the keyboards are striking. It all finishes up with ‘Pouring’ and ‘The March and the Stream’. The first one is probably the most unremarkable one, just a good song. But the last song, with its outro, finishes the deal of album. Curtain falls, ‘Ordeal’ comes to an end. Round of applause. The end. (8/10) (Svart Records)