Location: New York
Genre: Black metal
Full Length: Doom Trials
Format: Digital, CD, vinyl
Release date: July 4, 2021
Strings Of Distorted Doom (S.O.D.D.) is a black metal band from New York, USA, the brainchild of Daniel Ryan who published Transylvanian Forest E-zine in the 2000s. Ryan released a handful of demos and EPs and appeared on some split releases in the early 2010s, then went on a hiatus that ended with an advance EP of “Doom Trials” this year.
This is not a band playing anything even remotely polished or progressive, but one that’s headed in the opposite direction as black metal bands refine their songwriting and build on the musicianship displayed by the likes of Cradle of Filth. You can liken them to Darkness Enshroud, Black Funeral, Vrolok, and Leviathan in terms of grittiness and haunting atmosphere, but S.O.D.D. can’t be lumped in with them as Ryan presents ideas that haven’t been attempted by other musicians.
When I reviewed their advance EP last month, on which there were three tracks, I compared it to a soundtrack to sanity dying. As I listen to the album I think it more apt to say it’s a soundtrack to sanity being slowly unraveled at the seams and scattered on the ground. “Doom Trials” not only appeals to love of black metal but attacks your subconscious, making you question reality and your place in the scheme of things, if you dare dive as deeply into horror and insanity as the band does.
The ten songs comprising “Doom Trials” seem to be chapters in a macabre tale inspired by The Shining, The Evil Dead, Hellraiser and The Blair Witch Project, calling impressions of creeping evil from the deepest parts of your mind. Those places that resonate with the darkest horrors most people don’t dare drag into the light. Things you’d rather keep buried for being too dark and negative to face in yourself. Ryan and his band keep enough control of their faculties to retrieve at least some of it, challenging your ability to cope with it. Ironically, this is partly where love of horror comes from. But while you usually know you’re safe watching a movie, the abrasive production and unnerving atmosphere of “Doom Trials” leads you to question how safe you really are.
Another album I’m reminded of was released by the Japanese black/avant garde metal band Sigh in 1997 “Hail Horror Hail.” This album is one of the most original and inventive released by a metal band in the late 90s, and demonstrated the black metal genre’s potential for growth. Described as a “celluloid phantasmagoria”, it brought visual images into the music so you could imagine a movie in your head while listening. S.O.D.D. takes similar license with “Doom Trials”; the visuals of entering an abandoned cabin in the midst of unspoken evil is apparent from the start. These effects are vital to the album as they breathe macabre life into it as it becomes darker and more bizarre with each song.
“Doom Trials” is available in digital, compact disc and vinyl format, and other merchandise is available at the link provided above. -Dave Wolff
Dan: Vocals, lyrics, mastering, music composing
Chad: Backing vocals, bass, guitars, drum tracks
1. Cabin In The Woods
2. Buried In Blood
3. Dark Souls
4. The Attic
5. My Last Rites
6. Alone In The Dark
7. Der Gefallene Engel
8. Witch Craft
9. Dead Lights
10. The Cellar