REVIEW: When Nothing Remains - Thy Dark Serenity

Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Label: Solitude
Date of Release: June 3, 2013


When Nothing Remains formed in Sweden in 2010. They released their debut full-length "As All Torn Asunder" in 2012 with the help of Johan Ericson, who is very well known for performing vocals and guitars for gothic doom metal group Draconian. Then, 2013 would mark the release of this rising band's sophomore effort entitled "Thy Dark Serenity." In its over-50-minute length plays some somber but well-crafted music.

The musicianship is a great aspect that this album has to showcase. To start off, both the aggressive and clean sides of the vocal work are very good. On the latter side, the growls, while nothing totally special, are great in representing those of the genre. As for the clean singing, once again performed by Ericson, are just as good in its softness and resonance, definitely fitting for the rest of the music. Along with that, the guitars and synthesizer deliver very potent and sometimes spine-chilling melodies, especially in the album's opener "I Forgive You." The percussion, while basic, clicks perfectly into the slow, brooding nature of the music itself. Though not completely noteworthy in the face of the album's genre, the instrumentation definitely does good here.

Hence the album's cover artwork, "Thy Dark Serenity" represents the fusion of death, doom, and gothic metal in the vein of icons such as Swallow The Sun and Draconian, and it does a good job of it. The album doesn't really offer anything too original in terms of the death-doom genre, but what it does offer is nonetheless enjoyable. The sound is overall very graceful, and there is a grand amount of flow in the songs' structures. On top of that, there is a good handful of memorable moments peppered throughout, referring back to the introduction track as well as the best out of this record "I Forgive You." The melody in this particular song is quite powerful, and it is the largest highlight of the album. Even though the songs do get a little repetitive, there is still much to be liked in this tracklist.

Just like the music, the album's lyrics bear lots of dark, emotional weight, as well as the artwork. Lyrically, the record deals with sorrow and love, with a touch of fantasy elements thrown in the mix. A good example of this would be the song "A Ravens Tale," with lines including "The raven will carry our souls through the skies and sunsets, through the clouds and stars, and down... to where we belong." Though its nothing that noteworthy, the lyrical content does fit the music, particularly in terms of mood. The same can be said for the artwork, which is both emotional and unsettling. Both aspects play their roles quite nicely.

"Thy Dark Serenity" is a very good death-doom release, as well as a great sophomore album from a relatively new band. While it isn't masterpiece material, not offering much innovation and occasionally being repetitive, the songs are built well and plenty of things to remember the album by. Slow but ethereal and melodic, this album is worth a visit for any fan of depressive metal.

Score: 7/10 (Solid)