In a time when our genres spiral so out of control that it is easy to wind up surrounded by communicative wreckage when attempting to describe a band to someone, I am relieved when I am introduced to something like Selfexile from Sokolov, Czech Republic. Their minimalist and to-the-point traditional doomage doesn’t stray far from our Grand-doom-daddy, Sabbath. With a garage-doom sound that floods thick-crusted sludge, Selfexile will satisfy any modern Sabbath junky looking for a new sound. A sound all their own, Selfexile does not bore, though I must admit that I find their drums a bit limp. Their demo is near-solid. Give that filth an extra month or two beneath the sun to harden and I would say their tone would be rock-solid upon their first album. That’s the charm of a demo after all, isn’t it?
When listening to their first track off of their demo, “m.o.r.” which apparently translates to “plague”, I was intrigued by the unconventional and intermittently screeching intro. It felt like an organized chaos with cheap effects that endeared through and grew on me, a bit like early thrash and death metal. I was somehow relieved when I heard Radim Duda (vocalist) sticking to what I am assuming is his first language, NOT English. I am so attuned to doom (amongst other genre) bands conforming to an English language normative as if it is a part of some kind of metal formula. Though I do not understand the lyrics, the music speaks for itself. Call this, Czech flavored doom; it is a new flavor to me and I can tell you, I really dig it.
My favorite track on the demo that I received is “Veneficus”. The first riff ascends and descends like a discordant nightmare and moves onto a chunkier related riff that continues that feeling while Radim shouts through festering gravel, making it all the more heavy. Although it is a simple composition, the delivery does not disappoint.
For those unfamiliar to Selfexile, I would tell them that they feel a bit like Church of Misery but toned down a bit and definitely keeping true to the traditional doom punch-and-crunch riffs with a modern guttural vocal approach. Their minimalist approach is raw and true. I am without a doubt excited to hear a fine tuned album coming from them. The only constructive criticism I have for these guys is that they would really benefit from more power behind the drum kit because as meaty as it is, it still feels a bit juvenile.