This five-song 32-minute long album is the debut from Richmond, Virginia based quartet Tel. Their sludge/approach also contains some elements of black metal, which is emphasised by the foreboding black and white photo on the cover. The label says that the songs “bridge the gaps between the spacious doom of Yob, the raw sludge of Acid Bath, the progressive tendencies of Mastodon, and the sorrowful atmosphere of Katatonia.” To be honest, I don’t hear much in the way of Mastodon in here, but the melancholy of Katatonia is spot on, although they never sounded like this with incredibly heavy and thick riffs. The doom elements can be incredibly melodic, with Dante DuVall being a very confident singer who is happy to hold long notes in an almost-choral manner as opposed to a normal rock approach. This provides the music with quite a different sound and there are times when he is singing in a totally different manner to the maelstrom beneath him but somehow it comes together in a way which makes musical sense.
The band are far more than the normal Sabbath clones, with gently picked guitars also having a part to play as they fully understand the need for dynamics and contrast. I would have preferred to have heard slightly more than just the five songs on offer, but on the basis of this Tel could well have quite a future within the genre and I certainly look forward to hearing more from them.