Slow, tortured, sad doom metal is a difficult art to fully master. When one approaches times which near one beat per second (60 BPM if you hate doing math), the idea of boredom sinks in. Music at a slow pace has to be, you know, exciting (or at least enthralling), something which grasps the listener and simply does not let go for however long of a duration. In the case of Australia's The Slow Death, whose pedigree features members currently and formerly of the likes of Illimitable Dolor, Murkrat (who I haven't heard from in a very long time!), and Mournful Congregation, this idea of the captivating in music finds new form in a 19-minute album opener.

The beginning of their upcoming album Siege, the epic-length "Pestilence" takes elements from each member's own musical lineage and blends them into somber, despondent sound. The outdated term "beauty and the beast metal" finds a new home here, with dual vocalists Mandy Andresen and "Gamaliel" (the only member to use a stage name) trading their talents in a harrowing duet; Andresen's soaring, clean voice paired against Gamaliel's subterranean growl. Guitarist Stuart Prickett's own grasp on songwriting makes these near-20 minutes fly, even at a pallbearer's pace. The Slow Death's supremely heavy, suffocatingly sad doom metal finds a new height on this new album, as well as a more solidified emotional center, even under the guise of plague/horseman.

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Siege releases August 27th on Transcending Obscurity.

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