Process of Guilt – Faemin

Well, this one certainly came out of left field! Having had a bit of an explosion this year with some killer releases from Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Paradise Lost – not to mention a host of lesser known bands all delivering the goods – the doom metal scene seems to be in a healthy state right now. But when you get a handful of new releases come along in a short space of time and one of them is from a relatively unknown band with an album that is over forty minutes long and only has five songs on it, preconceptions may get in the way a little bit.

But have no such fear, as Portuguese metallers Process of Guilt have delivered what is quite simply a belter of an album in “Faemin”. Almost going beyond what the word ‘doom’ infers in metal terms, the songs on this album are crafted for maximum devastation yet have an edge that the word ‘accessible’ doesn’t do justice to. Opening track ‘Empire’ builds on a rumbling rhythm until around the six-minute mark where it finally cracks open and lets the brutality out in a cascading flurry of buzzing riffs that bring Godflesh to mind, but without the industrial overtones. Musically ‘Blindfold’ has a vibe like Ugly-era Life of Agony – gloomy yet with a focused sense of melody and a slight hardcore edge – although vocally this is more in the realm of Extreme Noise Terror than Keith Caputo.
As the album progresses each song throws a curveball and doesn’t quite go where you would expect for such a brutally heavy band. ‘Cleanse’ rolls along on a wave of percussion and breathy howls before succumbing to the power of the riff. The eleven-minute title track closes the album on a dynamic slant with its thundering, bass-heavy riff working some sort of hypnotic majesty in a way that many bands try but not many achieve.
As you’ve probably guessed, this album is real joy (in the doomy sense of the word) to listen to. Not totally sticking to the doom metal rulebook, the band bring in a few outside influences to pepper their sound with just enough of a twist on the doom formula to keep it interesting throughout. So if you’re looking for your next fix of melancholy but are also looking for something a little different then maybe Process of Guilt could be just what you’re looking for. (8/10) 

Chris Ward