Yawning Void – Streams Within (Weird Truth Productions)
Review by Milos Sebalj
The name of the band must be a preemptive strike against the haters, right? “We implied there would be yawning, didn’t we?” A sense of humor in a Doom Metal band? Or am I reading too much into a word that can be read as a synonym for a wide opening? I’m going to go with the second option, though I hope a sense of humor is present within a band. You know how the Finns can be…
Jokes aside, “Streams Within” is the debut recording from the Finnish sextet and should be viewed as such. Though experienced musicians with a whole lot of bands in their collective résumé (another trait of Finnish Metal scene), this is a new entity which is just stepping onto the world stage. As such, this album should serve more as an indicator of the capabilities of the bunch than a pointer at their ultimate potential.
Though described as a Doom/Death Metal band, I noticed quite a few Sludge or Stoner influences running around. Especially if you try and focus on the bass guitar. Down tuned guitars, on the other hand, do run on the fine line between Doom and Death Metal and create the necessary depth to the sound. Keyboards are mostly put to the background as more of a condiment than a main piece of the puzzle. That fact alone should secure Yawning Void from the narrow-minded stone throwers. When it comes to Black Metal, mentioned in the info sheet, it is locked down to screaming vocals that intersect the traditional growls. Now, those screams are the first thing that scratches your ears, as they are certainly the weakest link here. They remind me of those wailing screeches omnipresent with Depressive Black Metal and are mellowing the atmospheric edge of the record.
The vocals are just the tip of the iceberg, however grand their fault is. There are a couple of things I can mention that are missing on “Streams Within”. I could surely do with more creativeness in the guitar section. One cannot expect a serious playfulness from the drums in a genre such as this. Or even the bass guitar, though it is nicely crafted on the album. On the other hand, guitars must offer some better solutions to place Yawning Void above the pile of mediocrities. Generic riffs just don’t cut it, especially if you keep the keyboards behind. One of those two must stand out in order for the album to stand out as well. Take the ending of the final track as an example, with keyboards taking the lead. The arranging skills are there, Yawning Void is capable of creating songs that do not induce yawning over the course of seven, eight or sixteen minutes. It is simply the matter of the individual parts of those tracks that need deeper impact on the listener.
The potential I’ve mentioned at the beginning of the review is apparent. The Finns are well-known for their abilities to create mesmerizing atmospheric music and I believe Yawning Void is not an exception here. These guys just need to focus on the details which could make them another significant export from the land of the thousand lakes. As a debut it passes the test but it surely wouldn’t if it was the third or fourth album.