Eremit - Desert of Ghouls [Transcending Obscurity Records - 2020]German Doom-trio Eremit are a fairly young project, their discography only takes in one full-length album, Carrier Of Weight, released in 2018 on Indian label Transcending Obscurity Records. Their debut album & it’s take on atmopshric sludge/ doom caused quite a bit of resonance and earned a lot of positive reviews. And so, in 2020, the same label released the second release from the band, a EP entitled Desert of Ghouls- it’s released as an either Digipack CD, 10 "vinyl LP, or digital download.
The album cover features a dark red frame in a marble or granite texture, with-in this is square black and white illustration. It shows the profile of the head of a humanoid creature, grinning its teeth in fury. On the face are several spider eyes of different sizes, some plates, scales, and small tentacles. On the head, creating a kind of hair, there are many tentacles and processes that resemble the legs of a crab. Behind the creature is a background that resembles the dark sea depths. It looks like something from Lovecraft mythology. Just above the illustration, is the black and white Eremit logo- featuring is a sword piercing metal letters- very much like something from of a Fantasy Saga. At the title bottom of the cover, on the dark red background, is the EP's written in a stylized Gothic font. The illustration was drawn by the stunning artist Brandon Holt, whose work adorns the covers of many metal bands. I can say that from an artistic and design point of view, the cover is almost perfect and has a unique atmosphere and, despite the appearance of the monster, - beauty. However, I was a little surprised by the choice of marine subjects, despite the Ep's title, which takes in the word Desert. Nevertheless, I believe that this cover is very suitable for the musical part of the album.
The EP lasts a little over twenty-one minutes and consists of two tracks. The first track is called "Beheading the Innumerous" and lasts a little less than nine minutes. It begins with an introduction that resembles rehearsal recordings - a repeating guitar riff, a drummer's warm-up, and the rather noisy and grinding sounds of a second guitar. Already at this early stage, a rich sound begins to be felt. And when the main part of the composition begins, an extremely heavy and voluminous sound barrage falls upon the listener. Judging by the information, Eremt does not use a bass guitar, but I was completely sure that this instrument is present. I have no idea how the band has created such a sound, but I think that there is some amount of overdrives and octaves used, as well as, of course, gorgeous fuzz. During the composition, speed and riff line change several times. But, I would call the main pace "swaying" and "a little faster than slow." Explicit melodic solutions are practically absent here, as are guitar solos. Vocallly we have a fairly high rasping voice, more in common with Black metal. However, in combination with a very heavy and rich sound, it works very well.
The second track is called " City of Râsh-il-nûm " and it lasts a little over twelve minutes. More than half of the track features the same riff, which is gradually develops from a semi-acoustic guitar melody, using several effects, into a full-fledged rich riff. In the second half, the composition is already developing with other riffs and a different rhythmic line. The tempo of this track I would also call 'not very slow'. In terms of sound, everything remained the same as it was on the first track, but maybe" City of Râsh-il-nûm "seemed a little more atmospheric.
I think that the definition of the Eremit style, as sludge/doom, is quite fair. But it seems to me that this is closer to the classic doom with a small share of a stoner. But, sound saturation and very extreme vocals are taken explicitly from sludge. I'd say that Eremit is a mixture of Black Sabbath, Khanate, and Om. From the Birmingham four, Eremit took the simplicity of riffs, bringing it to an extreme. Honestly, I was surprised how good such simple musical solutions can sound. From Khanate, the German trio took richness and extremeness. And from Om they took a swinging meditative rhythm. I also listened to the bands debut album, and It seemed to me that on the new EP the sound became less atmospheric but more dense and saturated. This decision seemed to be an undoubted advantage. Nevertheless, the style of the band has not changed much, which is an indicator of creative stability.
I’m wary to call Desert of Ghouls a masterpiece, but I didn’t find much about the EP to dislike. I look forward to new work from Eremit and I highly recommend that every fan of heavy music get acquainted with this talented atmospheric sludge/ doom band.Sergey Pakhomov