Greenhouse gas funeral.
-- Patroness --
Review written by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
Back in early 2018 I was contacted by vocalist Guy Callens to check out the EP of his band Chief Roberts called “The Hopeless.” Although I didn’t dedicate my time to give that EP a review, I did include a song from that EP (“The Hopeless”) on my now long defunct YouTube show Shredder Sunday. About 2 years later, Guy and his band mate Nicholas reintroduced themselves and their band to me, this time under the moniker Patroness. Last February “Pyre” their debut EP as Patroness arrived at my doorstep, so it’s time for another quick, hard shred!
“Pyre” is the independently released debut EP from the Belgian doom/sludge metal act Patroness. The band’s lineup is identical to the Chief Roberts period with the exception of Maarten Valentin on drums.
The EP begins with Dominae, a doom metal song with black metal vocals and some post-metal touches with clean, melancholic singing in the song’s latter parts. Then comes “A Thousand Times” a more traditional doom metal tune with roaring guitar riffs and more of the howling vocals that were already featured in the previous track. It also has a beautifully meditative middle section.
Next up is the EP’s title track, a fast and hard-pounding song in which vocalist Guy shows his varied vocal range, with black metal shrieks, hardcore shouts and both calm and high-octane cleans. The title track clearly is the most diverse song on this EP. And finally, the release wraps up with the lengthy “Lost Eyes” the most post-metal oriented song with both melodic riffs and vicious beats, other played in tandem with one another.
While their work as Chief Roberts was a mash-up of doom metal, hardcore and classic Black Sabbath, their material as Patroness is significantly heavier, more consistent and atmospheric. In fact, I’d say that the song “Swallow the Ocean,” my personal favorite tune from their earlier Chief Roberts discography shares the most similarities to their current Patroness work. The band have made great progress from their Chief Roberts period and now delivers a stronger and more complex sound that still has a lot of versatility.
On the front cover is Patroness’s mascot, the green undead Virgin Mary praying while standing in the middle of a smoking & burning pyre. What I particularly like about “Pyre’s” cover art is the extensive use of green and black, not only does it make the artwork surprisingly colorful but I also see it as a visual image of how mankind is polluting the Earth more and more. We’ve torn down our religious symbols in a storm of fire and toxic gas.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
My top picks are “Pyre’s” title track and “Lost Eyes,” both for different reasons. The title track shows Patroness’s heavy side with hammering drums, sharp guitars and growls while “Lost Eyes” puts forward Patroness’s Mastodon influenced post-metal traits.
Personally, I feel that Guy’s shrieking vocals (most apparent during the EP’s opening track “Dominae”) aren’t his cup of tea. His black metal inspired vocals sound forced and quickly get muffled underneath the other instruments. His clean singing and hardcore shouts fare him much better as heard in tracks like “A Thousand Times,” the EP’s title track and the aforementioned “Lost Eyes.”
7,5 Patroness poppies out of 10. If you enjoyed Patroness’s work during their Chief Roberts days then you’ll certainly dig this heavier and more multi-layered treat. “Pyre” is a tasteful cocktail of doom, post and black metal made by a reinvigorated band. Here’s the title track!