Grief Collector – From Dissension to Avowal
Reviewed: June, 2019
Released: 2019, Independent
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Since his unceremonious dismissal from Candlemass and the even less ceremonious disbanding of Solitude Aeturnus, Robert Lowe has maintained a low public profile for the last few years. And then out of the blue, I stumble upon a Blabberzine announcement about Grief Collector’s debut album, that oh by the way, features the one and only Robert Lowe on vocals. Okay, color me curious…
FROM DISSENSION TO AVOWAL is the debut release from Minnesota doomsters Grief Collector, and is intended to be a concept album that takes you through the various stages of grief – which makes sense, they’re collectors of grief, after all. And on paper, having Lowe as the voice to carry you on such a journey is a no brainer. Except that the 6 tracks on the album never quite reach the lofty expectations espoused in their press release, and if Lowe’s name weren’t attached to the project, we probably wouldn’t be talking about this at all.
Sight unseen/unheard, I suppose I expected the kind of grandiose trappings that would usually accompany doom metal concept albums. But musically, FROM DISSENSION TO AVOWAL rides a fairly monochromatic wave of mid-tempo Candlemass riffs and a surprising amount of Trouble induced groove. Once you get over that and settle into the actual songs, it’s not a bad ride. Tunes like “Eyes of Fog” and “To Grips” rip pretty reliably and “Of Misery and Woe” takes some fun left turns with its flanged licks and classical guitar solo, but there’s not much to differentiate one tune from the next save for a particular passage or vocal phrasing.
Speaking of vocal phrasing, Lowe never seems to quite get his voice past second gear. Now I get it, we’re all getting older and I’m not at all expecting him to still hit the high notes from “Seeds of the Desolate”, but save for some vibrato and his natural vocal character, his performance here leaves a lot to be desired. Maybe it’s an intentionally more reserved delivery to better match the instrumentation, but fronting 2 of the most renowned epic doom bands comes with its own baggage and its own expectations…
FROM DISSENSION TO AVOWAL is an okay platter of middle of the road doom metal that sounds like a lot of other middle of the road doom bands. And good on Grief Collector for having a marquee name to help them promote the album. But at the end of the day, it all feels a bit anticlimactic. Or maybe, just maybe, such an experience an extension of the grief they’re trying to convey????