FRAYLE – 1692

FRAYLE – 1692

Cleveland’s Frayle made some waves in the doom fraternity with their 2018 “The White Witch” EP, their ethereal blend of doom metal and post-metal a breath of fresh air amongst their peers. Female-fronted doom (and the occult rock revival) were already in vogue, but Frayle had an interesting, even balance of sound and dynamic that set them apart.

“1692” takes that template and ups the doom quantity, giving an overall heavier and meatier structure for the melodic interplay. Added to this are the special atmospherics usually seen in down-tempo electronica, an element that gives the flow and steady movement an added boost and gives the band a unique sound.

The wounded, angelic vocals of Gwyn Strang are as prominent as before and obviously remain the focal point of the music. She doesn’t overplay her role, thankfully, and as the album progresses, her voice becomes one with the instrumentation and ambience. The guitars are extremely heavy and vast in tone, bringing forth that oppressive doom wall of sound that makes the genre what it is – the crunch and slow gait make for an enormous and impressive effect. The rhythm section holds everything down with the skill known only by bassists and drummers within this niche, a heavy pulse with a Zeppelin-esque tight-but-loose percussion. Coating this tasty cacophony is a warm, well-rounded production that seems just right to capture all the dense low-end and still allow the melodies and sweet notes to ring through.

“Gods Of No Faith”, whilst being the strongest track on here, also has growled vocals in the mix that add a different dimension to the rest of the album – the inclusion of outright aggression seems almost unsure of itself initially, but once the listener is used to it, it really does make quite an impression (perhaps something that they could build on in future). The rest of the songs range from eerie, haunting lullabies to balls-out Candlemass jams (other highlights being “Dead Inside” and Godless”), and the track listing is well thought out with the dynamics and musical progression in mind.

It’s not a revolutionary record or a musical statement that will change the way we see and hear doom, but “1692” is a collection of music that benefits from attention to detail, spine-chilling ambience, and sheer passion. For fans of Avatarium, Jex Thoth, and Lucifer, it will sit very comfortably in the ears and shine with its own charm and direction. Sublime, doomy bliss.