Review: Sorrowful Land ‘Faded Anchors Of The Past’

Ukrainian one-man death/doom act Sorrowful Land have returned from a five-year break to release their third full-length through Black Lion Records. Multi-instrumentalist Max Molodtsov has his fingers in many musical pies, including Edenian, Blessdivine and Mistyfica, all of which have a lighter sound than this. It’ll be interesting to see if any of those power metal/gothic doom/symphonic metal influences bleed over into Faded Anchors of the Past.

Sorrowful Land 'Faded Anchors Of The Past'

Opener As Long As We Breathe features the talents of Doomed‘s Pierre Laube and it is a rich, dense track of mourning guitar melodies, massive slow riffs and some wonderful growl/clean vocal interplay. A strong start to an album that unfolds with many such moments of graceful, deep beauty. The title track, Faded Anchor Of The Past, soars with latter day Anathema influences, with that deathly growl lurking below this magnificent epic.

This is a dichotomy that Sorrowful Land play with a lot on this record; the light/dark vocal collaboration that should be hacky at this point, but on tracks like the glorious Small Lost Moments it works so well you’d believe in it again. The vocal collaborators really help a huge amount, especially on The Cold Gray Fog Of Dawn, a personal highlight of mine. Stefan Nordström and Henrik Elkholm add gorgeous depth and layers to an already impressive track.

a drowning abyss of massive riffs and roars that really capture that death/doom zeitgeist perfectly…

The sorrowful rumble of Where The Sullen Waters Flow is the heaviest moment of the record, a drowning abyss of massive riffs and roars that really capture that death/doom zeitgeist perfectly, a feeling that is also flowing through the My Dying Bride-esque moments of the beautiful gothic doom of The Night Is Darkening Around Me.

Death/doom today seems to suffer from a quagmire of similarity; bands repeating the same slow riffs, bleak melody lines and massive growls without putting any real heart into it. Sorrowful Land do not have that issue, each song drips with a genuine heartache and cold grasping sadness.

You cannot help but wonder if what is going on in his homeland has given new weight to Molodtsov‘s compositions here, adding poignancy to an already weeping monolith of crushing moroseness. Whatever it is, Faded Anchors Of The Past is a record coloured richly in shades of grey where both misery and hope lie entwined in a fatal embrace.

Label: Black Lion Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Sandy Williamson