BEFORE THE RAIN – Frail
Second full length album from Portugal’s Before The Rain, who’ve been active since 1997 and spread out their work over the course of the past 14 years. If there’s one genre that isn’t necessarily quick to write complete albums for, it would be doom metal- the challenge being the ability to keep the riffs and songwriting interesting enough when playing at such a lethargic tempo. “Frail” contains a mere 6 songs and yet the running time is 75 minutes- with 2 of the songs tipping the scales at above the 17 minute mark your brainwaves and eardrums better be prepared for a patient, atmospheric journey into the realms of darkness, depression and despair.
Guitarists Valter Cunha and Carlos Monteiro weave in The Gathering-like clean quirkiness with distorted heavy parts straight out of Anathema, My Dying Bride and possibly early Paradise Lost school of thought. Vocally Gary Griffith employs more of a low, quieter melodic moan nature, alternative and leading the call of his emotional depth on winning material like “Breaking The Waves” and “Peace Is Absent”. There are occasional flashes of death metal in the echo picking or the guttural growls used for enhancement, but overall Before The Rain are a group content to just slap you in the face and regenerate every cell in your skin through laborious, painstaking repetition, dynamically challenging through tranquil simplicity one moment and then letting loose with this heavy crashing riff crescendo.
Could some of the songs be a touch shorter? Unequivocally- because it’s tough to keep full interest in even a progressive song for 17 minutes, let alone one with fewer main riffs and transitions played at a sleeping heart rate drum-wise. Before The Rain live for melodic doom though- you won’t feel like you are at a funeral or overloaded with keyboards through “Frail”. More material in the vein of the slightly hopeful “A Glimpse Towards The Sun” could vault Before The Rain to the upper echelon of revered doom acts.
Alone or in the company of others, there’s nothing more liberating than doom done right- Before The Rain exemplify and embody the beauty of the movement.