Album of the Week 23-2019: Capilla Ardiente – Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness


Chile’s two finest metal bands share two key members in the shape of singer/guitarist Felipe Plaza Kutzbach and bassist Claudio Botarro Neira. Both bands play doom metal of the more epic variety, but where Plaza Kutzbach’s Procession is more traditional along the lines of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, Botarro Neira’s Capilla Ardiente has a grimier, yet despair-ridden vibe reminiscent of early doom/death records by the likes of My Dying Bride. Combined with Plaza Kutzbach’s mournful, dramatic and always heartfelt clean vocal delivery, ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ is an ambitious and incredibly powerful debut album that any fan of the genre should hear.

Being a doom metal band, Capilla Ardiente’s music is generally slow, but composer Botarro Neira is very aware of the fact that good doom metal demands more than just crawling tempos and a dreary feel. Songwriting-wise, ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ is actually quite a step up from what most doom metal bands of the same generation do. Besides an intro that could easily be considered a part of the following song and a bass interlude, the album consists of four 10+ minute songs that don’t justify their length from their slow pace, but from being multi-faceted compositions.

Obviously, Capilla Ardiente is not content to let the same riff drag on for a few minutes even in the slowest parts of the songs. Within the songs, the band often switches between the different tempos on the slow to mid-tempo spectrum. ‘Towards The Midnight Ocean’, for instance, has a main section characterized by a Black Sabbath-esque shuffle before transforming into a quasi-Gregorian march and culminating in a few minutes of haunting ultra-doom, which seemingly go by in a breeze. It would be misleading to call the songwriting progressive, but there is definitely more to it than the blatant Candlemass worship of most epic doom bands.

For one thing, ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ is a very listenable album that stays enjoyable all the way through. The atmosphere is monolithic and oppressive, but not in a way that entirely sucks the life out of its listener. There are interesting melodic and rhythmic developments galore and Julio Bórquez treats us to a handful of intense guitar solos, the sorrowful one during the funereal apotheosis of the highly dynamic closer ‘Into Unknown Lands’ being his crowning achievement on the album. There are even some slightly distorted bass solos that add to the variation on the record.

The music Capilla Ardiente makes has the potential to appeal to people who are generally intrigued, but ultimately bored by doom metal. ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ does not allow you to get bored even a single second. Its atmosphere envelops the listener, undoubtedly helped by the powerful production, which has plenty of bottom end and gives Francisco Aguirre’s drums the thunderous quality they should have, but not at the expense of the melodic qualities of Capilla Ardiente’s compositions. Like Procession, Capilla Ardiente is one of the greatest doom metal bands currently in existence. A new album is due in September and if it is anywhere near as good as their debut, it is worth anticipating.

Recommended tracks: ‘Into Unknown Lands’, ‘They Who Were Lost And Now Are Cursed’

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