Well, in that case he would have to compete with Oktor, a band from Warsaw, Poland. They founded in 2003 and since then they have been on a journey to write the perfect funeral doom metal album. Their approach incorporates a heap of influences, including bands like Skepticism, Dolorian, Mourning Beloveth, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Pink Floyd (according to their facebook page). Yet, they know how to turn all these influences into their own distinct, and highly versatile sound. That is already a huge accomplishment, regarding the fact that these are all very slow and cumbersome songs.
The album opens with 'Another', a nice piece of solo piano. 'Dimension', 'Of' and 'Pain' repeat that by coming in between the doom metal songs we're about to review in the remainder of this writing. So, these piano passages function as breathers, and are the common thread throughout the entire album. It's like they lull you to sleep with these pieces, right before unleashing a tremendous nightmare. I actually quite like that aspect of this album. It gives the whole something extra, something gentle but impeding and of course a clear notice that these guys know a little something about making music.
'Conscious Somatoform Paradise' then comes up with the doom, and my god what doom they play. With great effects, crushing riffs and a wide variety of vocals, ranging from clean folk-like to deep growls, Oktor brings us right back to the glorious nineties where My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost were treated like deities. Yet, Oktor also incorporates a lot of progressive elements, at times even coming quite close to post-rock, combined with strange vocals, reminding me of avant garde goth acts like Virgin Prunes or Christian Death. Now, believe me or not, we're not done talking about this amazing song here. I'd like to add bands like Evergrey, November's Doom to even Evoken or Esoteric. Yes, the tempo is very slow, but there's a lively aspect hidden in the melodic nature of some of the passages.
'Mental Paralysis' takes the level of songwriting even further and, besides clean indie-like vocals, also comes up with violins. Yet, when the guitars and drums finally kick in, it becomes an amazing piece of atmospheric doom metal again. At this point, I've already started wondering about live performances and how this album would be perfect for the stage. They crush the audience with their massive sound, tune their instruments while the pianist does his job and go right back to blasting out the next tune. It will obviously cause an ecstatic audience. The wall-of-sound this band creates is irresistible and I can't wait to witness this live. Someone please book these guys in Antwerp, preferably a whole week!
So now that you have read all the superlatives and all the huge names in this review, you should already be running to the record store (or clicking to Oktor's bandcamp page) if you're a fan of funeral doom. You can't go wrong with this one. I personally can't add more to this review, besides maybe mentioning that 'Hemiparesis Of The Soul' is another mesmerizing doom metal song, driving on similar elements than the previous ones and that 'Undone' is a surprisingly beautiful ballad that reminds me of Olafur Arnalds' 'For Now I Am Winter' album. This is a absolute highlight in today's doom scene, that's for sure...