Halter are a Russian death/doom band, and ‘For the Abandoned’ is their second full length after 2013’s ‘Omnipresence of Rat Race’. It’s been released on Moscow Funeral League Records at the end of September, and it is a monument of icy, crushing misery.
Opening with the funereal crawl of ‘…Of the Part of Nature’, Halter’s style is instantly recognisable to fans of Swallow the Sun, or Funeral. Gloomy atmospheres coat each titan riff with a suffocating blackness. I like the foreboding chug of ‘Hunter’s Brotherhood’, with its melancholic guitar tone and the hell scraping vocals. Death/doom works best when it is dynamic as well as deathly and miserable, and Halter do a good job of combining these attributes.
‘First Snow’ is probably the most impressive piece here, a true monolith of misery, cold and darkness. It lumbers onwards endlessly, flattening anything in its wake and leaving you shivering in loneliness and isolated pain. ‘For the Abandoned’ sucks all the joy and happiness from a room and leaves it an empty husk. Death/doom, being a genre that essentially does the same song over and over, requires variety to succeed. Halter change things up just enough, like in the almost upbeat sections of ‘Pain Which Never Sleeps’, without deviating from their main pattern, to allow for such variety.
‘For the Abandoned’ is a fine example of the power of misery. Halter craft songs from the body of gloom itself, injecting them with a rumbling menace and sufficient variety to keep me listening. It’s hard to argue with songs that are as well written as the epic closer ‘Ode to the Abandoned’, and Halter have done a fine job here.