Sunday, 30 June 2013

Albino Python - The Doomed and the Damned (album review)

It's been almost a year since Albino Python slithered their way into the peaceful dreams of doomed sleepers with the ridiculously catchy one-off digital track "The Haunter of the Dark".  The late July arrival of the track was a pre-order heralding a larger work slated for a Halloween release.  After some health-related delays, two further songs finally emerged in late November, "Through Dead Black Eyes" and "Black Sunday".  Already by that point the band was showing some different looks.  While their introductory song featured a fairly clean sound, not only from the vocals of Shelly Delbridge but also from an overall low end heavy doom sound from multi-instrumentalist Eric Corder that was as sleek as the skin of the creature the band had taken their name from, the two new songs featured altogether more abrasive textures, from the thorny riffs to the spike studded snarling vocals, the band had taken on more of a sludgy aspect.  Now that the full complement of the six tracks which make up 'The Doomed and the Damned' have been released, it's clear which direction the band is coming from, with Albino Python emerging from the filthiest end of the musical spectrum.

The filthy path they walk is somewhat familiar ground to the two principals here as Delbridge and Corder also make up the depressive black metal duo A Cloud Forest.  "The Haunter of the Dark" is certainly a departure from those shadow-encrusted roots, the remainder of the Albino Python music to have since emerged finds a slightly more balanced approach between the two styles with the relative cleanliness of "Haunter" shucked off like a husk that just didn't fit right, perhaps being too tight and restrictive before ultimately splitting under the pressure.

Of course, that's perhaps missing the point.  Vocally, Delbridge gets more disgusted and growly as side one plays on, musically, the album is smooth and consistent, with the 'feeling' of each track determined by the vocalist's level of vitriol.  By the time we get to track three, "Black Sunday", the vocal and riff combination borders on the death/doom sub (sub [sub]) genre but for the most part, 'The Doomed and the Damned' is straight doom and the band serves up a delicacy at that.  In fact, what sets this band apart is that this is a colorful album, not dominated by black hues against a desolate background but an album whose shadows fall across a vibrant palette of polychrome guitars and textures.  It's the same kind of sensibility that Chad Davis brought to Hour of 13, after draping oneself in the tightly restrictive atmospheres of Black Metal it must be liberating to have all this room to work with in Doom.  After nearly a year of sampling "The Haunter of the Dark" I'm convinced that it's one of the finest examples of the genre one can find.  There's no significant drop off in quality in what has since emerged either.

"To Hell We Ride" starts off with a bang, quite literally with the sound of a gun being cocked and fired, cocked and fired, cocked and ... the music starts.  Bringing up Delbridge once again, it's on this track and the next one, "Stone Gray Skies" where what must be considered her trademark becomes most apparent.  On all Python songs, her vocals are echoed by a long trailing delay, the effect of which is like a ghostly bridal gown trailing along rain-soaked lonely roads at night.

There is one slight criticism to be found here and that has to do with the treble-happy tinniness of the production which can grate on the ears when thrown on a mixed playlist with headphones.  It's a small matter and the 'problem' is ultimately correctable and only provides minor irritation before the volume is [always hesitantly] turned down.

Art is a constant process of experimentation.  Albino Python have donned their lab coats for 'The Doomed and the Damned'.  It's been a pleasure to hear this band develop as songs slowly emerged over the course of a year.  Right now, you can download the album from their bandcamp page (just click through the links on the player below) and it is available on cassette tape from Easy Rider Records in four different colors.  I recommend this album for those who like their doom to be on the filthy, raw and raunchy side.

Highlights include: "The Haunter of the Dark" and "To Hell We Ride"

Rating: 4.5/5

Total Run Time: 36:29

From: Phoenix, Arizona

Genre: Doom, Sludge

Reminds me of: Acid King, Demon Lung, Hour of 13, Shroud Eater

Release Date: June 19, 2013

Albino Python on facebook


  1. Agree with almost everything you say about this band, but for me the poor production on the album is a problem I can't get my ears round how badly distorted everything is. Shame as this band are really good.

    1. I sympathize. Hopefully the production will match their talents on the next one. I'm still way into this one though.


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