Released: 2016, Solitude Productions
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
When I first saw this promo in my inbox, it immediately conjured images of a blunt smoking ungulate derived from Sleep’s DOPESMOKER LP. Let that teach me to judge a band by their moniker. TERRESTRIAL is the fourth full length from the UK’s Camel of Doom, and far from the simplistic bong riffs I was expecting, it’s a thoughtful and prog heavy excursion into extreme doom.
In all fairness, mainman Kris Clayton formed the band when he was 13 years old, and there are no bad ideas when you’re 13 years old (hence a name like Camel of Doom). Previous outings like PSYCHODRAMAS and THE NIGHT AFTER TIME were more traditional stoner romps, but TERRESTRIAL is a step into less charted territories. Opting to embrace a more celestial atmosphere within minimalist instrument structure, it’s an assured left turn. Staccato, down tuned guitars and swirly sci-fi backdrops propel tracks like “Cycles” and “Pyroclastic Flow”, but are countered with an almost danceable swagger on tracks like “Sleeper Must Awaken”. TERRESTRIAL is an album full of sonic dichotomy, and it’s those aural clashes that make it an interesting listen.
Clocking in at a little over an hour, TERRESTRIAL does require a lot of patience. Save for the breathing room on “Nine Eternities”, the whole album is non-stop, slow moving aggro for the entire visit; the really successful moments feel like they’re spread too little and too late by the time you get there. A lot of that’s driven by the longer tunes (upwards of 12 minutes) tending to overstay their welcome; you could totally shave some of the edges from those tracks and still get the intended effect. Camel of Doom gets an “E” for effort, and if you like your tunes a little less accessible, TERRESTRIAL still might be worthy of a spin.