Ominous by Welcome To HolylandRelease date: March 24, 2023
Label: Consouling Sounds
Low, slow, and very, very heavy. Welcome to Holyland come crawling out of Belgium with their debut Ominous ticking all the boxes befitting an album wearing such a title. The opening wail of feedback crashes into a gargantuan riff that sets the tone for the following forty odd minutes. Filled with darkness, the wall of sound is crushing in a slow, suffocating way that the finest doom does so well.
The production is crisp enough to feel every drop of sludge sloughing from these mournful lines, yet still chunky enough to rattle anything not nailed down. The balance, too, is a welcome sound, the guitars front and centre driving Ominous along with bleak ferocity. The rhythm section stay just enough in the background as to not intrude, yet never fade too far that they become insipid.
Standout ‘Arizona Dust’ best exemplifies the smooth transitions Welcome to Holyland are able to perform effortlessly. From loud and brutal to murky and creepy, it feels so natural. Then when it roars back into life at full tilt, the hit is all the more devastating. The same goes as the pace picks up and drops off, most notably in ‘Queen Of Green’, the bursts of the more frenetic passages injecting a shot of vigour when it feels like it might start becoming a touch monotonous.
Unfortunately the quality does begin to trail off towards the end of Ominous, the inventiveness beginning to fail, leaving a feeling of it drifting along as if merely trying to get to the end. However, there is still plenty to enjoy about this brooding, oppressive debut as Welcome to Holyland have produced a highly satisfying record. What we have here is an exciting new band crashing into the doom scene with a fresh twist on the expected cornerstones.
Ominous is available for pre-order through here. Listen exclusively to the track ‘Phoenix Rising’ here: