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VINUM SABBATUM (Songs From The Convent) CD

When I first got their original 'Songs From The Convent' EP, Vinum Sabbatum knocks on an open door at my household. Their blend of sound was right up my alley. And now here I am, reviewing this CD that is more than the re-release of the old CD-EP which the band sold on their own initiative. The official release includes their songs from their split with english Groove-Doomers Groan. In this way, the old running order of the songs got a little mixed up with the new ones. This is nothing bad at all for me as I think, I have heard the EP so often that it was a pleasant surprise when some different riff than I expected comes in. The guys from Finland have something going on which sets them a little apart from quite a few of the recent 70s-Retro-Doom-Rock-Whatever bands. Their inclusion of a hammond organ pushes them more towards a band like Jex Thoth than Witchcraft so to speak, but then again some of the riffs are less 70s-dated. Just listen to the opening track 'Angel Of Mourning'. Though the organ for sure gives it an eerie 70s dark prog touch, the song reminds me a bit of certain tracks of Orodruin or Blizaro.

My favorite track 'Demon Dance (Chorea Sancti Viti)', skips between slower, more modern Doom (if there could be something like modern Doom at all) and 70s rocking riffs follow up. And there is still that Orodruin feel. On the other side, 'Sinister Sister' shuffles its way all through the early 70s afterward, no denying there. The sound changes a little, especially in the guitar department. This is the first of two songs from their Split EP. It shows, but it does not disturb the listener I would presume. 'Sunrise Of Tomorrow' features some ah-ahaaa-choir and a siren-like effect and sounds like Iron Man meeting Bloodrock in a very good way. Can somebody tell me how I could not love that stuff? I cannot make anything out of the words of the introductional sample of 'Witch Woman'. Vinum Sabbatum do not try to avoid the occult trend at all. But as long as it results in good songs like that, I can live with it. 'Ramblin' Dues' is the last one of the original cuts from the EP; a song with a nice ear-candy hookline in the bridge. These guys know how to write a song of which at least some parts will stick in your head for quite some time.

The last song is 'Disillusioned Pilgrims', which is more than a 10 minutes long opus, originally from the split release with Groan. It's funny that the last song opens with the sound of wind and rain and a decent acoustic guitar. I guess, it would have been too much of a stereotype to start the CD with that. Some synth sound that has more a flute feel kicks in for a more diverse vibe on that department. But the following riff is a heavy doom riff that whips all mellowness apart. The song gets a little less dark with the 70s shuffle part that includes a nice guitar-solo as well. One could argue if the world needs another of those occult Doom bands. Sure, Vinum Sabbatum are not doing anything too extraordinary compared to a lot of other of the newer bands, but these guys wrote some damn fine that are certainly worthwile to be checked out.

(Thorsten Frahling)