Album of the Week 37-2019: Capilla Ardiente – The Siege

Not too long ago, in a review about Capilla Ardiente’s debut album ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’, I voiced the hope that the sophomore album the Chilean doomsters were working on at the time would be as good. ‘The Siege’ is now available and it is good. Very good even. The band continues its epic doom metal sound with slight hints of doom/death riffing for extra despair, though the latter are slightly less pronounced than on its predecessor. ‘The Siege’ really elevates Capilla Ardiente above their status as promising, making them quite possibly the greatest doom metal band currently in existence.

As a whole, ‘The Siege’ has a slightly more epic heavy metal vibe than ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’, though never so much that one would confuse them with Procession, the other band of bassist Claudio Botarro Neira and singer Felipe Plaza Kutzbach. The overall tempo feels slightly higher as well, although there are still plenty of riffs that are close to dirge-like tempos. Not unlike the debut, Botarro Neira’s multi-faceted compositions steal the show here. And that is quite an achievement, considering that Plaza Kutzbach’s passionate, mournful and powerful vocal delivery is once again highly impressive.

Botarro Neira’s compositions kind of feel like multi-part suites with a greater deal of coherence than is usual with those kinds of compositions. Despite all the dynamics and – relatively subtle – tempo changes, the parts of all the songs feel like they belong together in one track rather than being haphazardly thrown together. And because of that, a song like thirteen plus minute opener ‘The Open Arms, The Open Wounds’ can move through several atmospheres and tempos without sounding disjointed. It is slightly more riff-driven and less reliant on atmosphere than previous opener ‘Nothing Here For Me’, but every bit as good.

Those who have heard ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’ know what to expect. There are some small surprises, such as the almost gothic-sounding bass and vocals only section right before the finale of ‘The Crimson Fortress’, and the excellent guitar solos courtesy of Julio Bórquez, including an acoustic one near the end of closing track ‘Fallen Alphas And Rising Omega’. There are a lot of twin guitar harmonies this time around, the beginning of the album’s most traditional doom metal-sounding track ‘The Spell Of Concealment’ in particular is loaded with them.

Keeping things interesting throughout four tracks that are all over nine and a half minutes is not an easy task. Many bands in the genre just resort to endlessly repeating a bunch of crushing riffs, but Capilla Ardiente obviously is not content with doing that. As I was hoping, ‘The Siege’ is another record full of great doom riffs, excellent melodies and the odd virtuosic moment by either Bórquez or Botarro Neira. And let’s not forget that voice! The production is slightly less explosive than on ‘Bravery, Truth And The Endless Darkness’, but you hardly notice that after the second playthrough. I could not recommend this more.

Recommended tracks: ‘The Crimson Fortress’, ‘Fallen Alphas And Rising Omega’

    • Raf
    • September 24th, 2019

    Wow, I’m not a big fan of doom metal but I’m impressed with this album. I wanted to something different than I usually listen to and it was really cool. Very good guitarist. Also I like this 4 track format of the album, I’m big fan of long songs, and here it all sounds ambitious, and very epic. In general way better music than I expected (as I said, doom metal is not my thing). Btw I didn’t like the sound, but I’m not 100% sure if it’s about my taste or shitty headphones I was listen to this album. It was at job, when I’ll back home I’ll try it on normal environment.
    Anyway, nice album.

    • Hey Raf! Glad you enjoyed the Capilla Ardiente album. These guys took me completely by surprise when I first heard their debut EP and won me over definitively with their debut album. My interest in them was mainly caused by me liking Felipe Plaza Kutzbach’s voice in Procession, but I like Capilla Ardiente better. Both bands also have the same bassist, by the way.

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