Music writers talk about "hidden gems" a lot, but the criteria wavers mightily. When I use the phrase, I'm generally talking about a band that's been unfairly swept aside or outright overlooked due to the sheer, continuous glut of new releases in its chosen genre; for example, doom bands are a dime a dozen now, and it takes a lot for any given outfit to spark real interest. That being said, the ones that do manage to hook a claw into our collective consciousness are quite special indeed. Irish newcomers Soothsayer more than satisfy those criteria, and their new album truly is one of 2016's finest hidden gems.
The young five-piece has just released its sophomore full-length, At This Great Depth, following their 2015 debut with a semi-eponymous EP. Soothsayer's take on doom is epic and unorthodox, borrowing more influence from atmospheric black metal's triumphantly climbing scales and melodic death metal's pointed harmonies than traditional doom's passive tempos. It's heavy, of course, but heavy in the way that Samothrace or Khemmis are heavy—they aim for a certain level of melodic finesse, and work to keep things from getting too grim with smart little melodic flourishes (the guitar work on At This Great Depth is jaw-dropping).
Listen to At This Great Depth below, and purchase the album from Indian label Transcending Obscurity (it's out today!).
Kim Kelly is doomsaying on Twitter.