(Sleaszy Rider Records)
Cold Colours was originally intended to be Brian J Huebner's solo studio project and called Wolfthorn, before he changed the name after releasing a couple of demos and involving other musicians.
Over the last three albums the sound has been varied with the ever changing line-up; ranging from Goth influenced progressive rock to an almost power thrash sound with the previous release 'The Great Depression'.
With this fourth and self titled release he has taken full control of the sound, aiming to return to the original concept of dark and heavy doom/Gothic Metal, the self title marking a new beginning for the band.
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Musically this is a very good album, with Brian handling vocals, which are excellent; harsh, rasping and very varied in their depth and inflection, along with handling guitars, bass and keyboard duties. Additional help comes from Aaron Lott on guitars and David Richardson on drums and vocals.
Consisting of nine tracks in total, eight of which are his own compositions, the album opens on 'Orifice', a beautiful acoustic instrumental that repeats and builds as more layers are added. Although 'Disgust' is a short track, it gets down to business quickly and I love the balance of rasping vocals against the beautiful, emotive, repeat guitar segment that emerges here and there, something that is revisited on the next track 'The Process Of Dying' which has a darker feel to the vocals and a sombre edge to rhythms, something that sits so well against those beautiful guitar segments, a complete directional change half way through acts almost to a forewarning of the next three tracks become increasingly dark, plunging into the dark abyss of misery.
The descent begins with the beautifully doom laden 'This Devotion' where the vocals take on a deeper darker feel but intermingled are more intense, faster segments and a harrowingly mournful guitar solo. 'Suffering God' is doom laden and tortuous with dark deep harsh rasping vocals, with well placed guitar squeals that add much to the agonising atmosphere.
Finally 'A Loss Of Faith' is dark and intense but atmospheric and mood rich after the initial reflective opener, the first track to contain some clean vocals.
You start to emerge from the abyss into a miserable wilderness with the sombre reflective 'Of Sand And Tears', which contains a lot more clean vocals which do balance well against the harsh and give them a more intense feel. There is a very slight Goth feel to 'Silent Speech', coming from the combination of clean vocals and keyboards in places, but to the greater part it is just darkly depressing, another track with some really good guitar segments dotted in here and there.
Finally 'Cold Colours' (Rotting Christ cover from the 'Sleep Of Angels' album) which as a track considered on its own merits of delivery and performance is good, but when viewed from the perspective of a Rotting Christ fan, like myself, the unique guitar sound which makes their songs so stunning is absent, so from that perspective, sadly, it's not a patch on the original or as good as the previous eight tracks.
The aim of this release, without the influence of others, was to achieve the feel aimed for the project when it was originally conceived, of dark and depressing Metal music; I think he has, to a certain extent, achieved this, with the songs still managing to contain a deeply emotive beauty.
An album that is an enjoyable listen and that gets better with every play.