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Doom From The Great Hall: Scald Reissue “Will of the Gods is a Great Power”

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Though the Iron Curtain fell in 1991, there is still a great divide between what lies East of it and what we know as “the West.” There is mystery there, a sort of anti-romanticism which paints its streets in poverty and either a stereotypical primitivism or Stalin-era architectural brutality and straight-line conformity. It is no different with metal. Even with the advent of Encyclopedia Metallum and Bandcamp, the modern knowledge base of metal in Russia is woefully bleak.

Even so, there is Scald, whose epic doom metal grimoire Will of the Gods is a Great Power graced shelves in 1997. There is a reason people know of Scald, a reason much more than the magical “found this tape on a shelf” story. In short: Scald was incredible. This band who played gymnasiums with a spirit greater than any concert hall were young masters of traditional, epic doom metal. Walking in footsteps tread by Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus, Scald outpaced their predecessors and (literally) with sword held high, carried the flame of doom metal in a world unseen to the West.

Will of the Gods is a Great Power was a glorious doom bolt straight from the golden hall. Through its immense songwriting and impassioned performance, Scald’s sole full-length album struck a perfect balance between the epic, the forlorn, and the accessible. Though a lugubrious effort of plodding might, it was their fervor, moreso the fervor of purportedly untrained vocalist Maxim “Agyl” Andrianov, which added Scald to the hallowed halls of doom metal eternity. Andrianov’s voice was one of power, a soaring croon and bellow which placed itself above the backing band’s rich, sumptuous darkness.

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Sadly, Scald’s story is also one of tragedy. Andrianov met an early fate at the age of 24, and Scald was put to rest. In its wake, surviving members Velingor, Harald, Karry, and Ottar founded folk metal band Tumulus, which has been on indefinite hiatus since 2013. Though the band was short-lived, Scald left their mark on metal, even if in doom metal’s undercurrent. Such is the way of tragedy — Scald’s story was one of potential. What would the future have carried? Would the great story of Scald carry over to the United States? Would they have been the gateway to the East? These are all romantic alternate endings to what is ultimately a sad story, and yet… Scald’s torch is still carried with each new listen.

The definitive vinyl reissue of Scald’s sole album is out through Ordo MCM Friday.

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