Loss - Despond (2011, Profound Lore Records)
America has never been a hotbed for funeral doom. Chalk it up as one of the things Europe just seems to do better. For those uninitiated, funeral doom fits somewhere between death/doom and depressive black metal, with lower vocals reminiscent of the former, and atmospheric flourishes of the latter. Not exactly groovy or headbangable, unless your idea of headbanging is the kind that follows a swandive from a four-story building.
But back to the matter at hand. American doom tyrants Loss, from the unlikely haunts of Nashville, Tennessee, have certainly carved themselves a nice little spot in the underground releasing splits with German occultists Necros Christos (including a pair of excellent Goatlord covers), and funeral doom legends Worship. Earlier this year Loss dropped their first full-length Despond on Profound Lore and it's not a stretch for me to call it one of my favorites of this year. I can say with more than a hint of irony that Despond gives you all the happiness a doom fan could ever want - from the low and slow vocals to the lumbering dual guitar harmonies, deep bass, and sepulchral drumming. With feel good hits like Cut Up, Depressed, and Alone, Loss weigh in with all the motivation you'll ever need to never feel motivation again. As far as the genre goes this is par for the course, but you knew that already. Despond plays with cleaner tones and cleaner vocals and while the experiment pays off, the band is still at their best when they're at their slowest. It all comes down to creating the best possible soundtrack to the last important decision most of you will ever make. Check them out here before you end it.