SEVENTH ANGEL - Lament For The Weary (2LP)
Lament For The Weary remains one of my all-time favorite extreme metal albums. However, when it was first released back in 1991, it initially didn’t settle well with me. I suppose I was looking for more of the thrashy metal of the debut and something that would be equally as up-front Christian in content. Not only was the music more doomy, but the subject matter of the lyrics seemed quite depressing and the songs had this emotionally draining quality. But over time, it grew on me, and I found myself playing this a lot more frequently than The Torment. The music was more mature, more brooding, and surprisingly more disturbing in some regards, largely because this was a concept album about the spiritual journey of a man who was a victim of child abuse.
Because the album starts out with the hopeless life of a destitute, most of the earlier tunes have a dark and negative view of life. Interestingly, as the album progresses, this traveler in search of salvation has an increasing sense of his own sin, and he eventually comes to faith and realizes that he is secure in eternity with no more reason to cry. Not only was there a bit more realism and depth to the lyrics, but Ian improved in the songwriting category as well, and the plodding guitars gave the Seventh Angel sound a new life. The vocals came through even more clearly with a bit more melody, especially on the slower sections. Some of the highlight tunes for me remain “Falling Away From Reality,” “Passing of Years” and the triumphant “Farewell To Human Cries.” Where many doom bands plod along at a slow and fixed pace, there is enough variation in style and tempo here to keep things interesting over the course of its length.
The original was remastered and re-released by Retroactive Records back in 2005 on CD, but this is the first pressing on vinyl, and all I can say is that these songs have never sounded better – fantastic doomy metal with a dark and thrashy edge. Unlike The Torment, this one has been released on 2 LPs with no more than 3 songs per side (Side D with only the final two tracks). The blue vinyl is nothing like what is pictured on the website – not a solid blue but instead clear/transparent (as pictured below). The sound quality is excellent with a good balance of those high-end cutting guitars with the punchy low-end bass. Some doom sounds too “boomy,” but the mix is near perfect and this version does more than solidify my opinion that Lament For The Weary is one of the top two Christian doom albums of all time (#1 Paramaecium – Exhumed Of The Earth). Unlike the single LP versions, the jacket for the 2LP has more than enough room for the discs and the lyric insert (although only paper sleeves for these releases). And not only does this recording sound amazing on vinyl, we now have this beautiful piece of art by Rodney Matthews (the cover) in full 12x12 size! Fans should not hesitate to pick this up before they are all gone.