Into The Catacomb Abyss

Unearthed Elf are an epic, fantasy, power, doom metal band from the USA formed in 2015 by Keith D, founding member of the progressive doom metal band Arctic Sleep. Unearthed Elf is a one man solo project, forming as a result of a severe knee injury Keith suffered in 2015, forcing him to cancel a planned Arctic Sleep tour to spend weeks at home recovering. All instruments and vocals are by Keith, with the album a meandering journey through varying genres of music, with doom and progressive the most influential. The bands debut album was released in 2016.    
Heavy buzzing guitars and a thundering rhythm greets the listener as the album gets underway with the title song 'Into The Catacomb Abyss'. Head bangingly addictive, 'Into The Catacomb Abyss' is some of the best buzzsaw sounding guitar riffage ever heard. A powerful clean and clear vocal delivery, soaring to almost the symphonic style, adds a massive touch of atmosphere. Picking up the intensity 'Never See The Sun Again' mellows a little and takes on the style of melodic hard rock. The opening double salvo has all the trademarks of epic and fantasy and will reel you in, keeping you hooked until the very end. I've never been a huge fan of the doom style of heavy metal, all sombre and sometimes mind numbingly melancholic, but Keith has managed to add a freshness that makes for a very infectious and catchy album.    
Yes there are slower moments, such as the acoustics fuelled 'Eternal Night', but the vocals take over and stand loud and proud, keeping the melancholy nature of doom metal at arms length. As 'Eternal Night' progresses, a superb buzzing guitar riff is introduced, changing the tone completely. 'Gauntlets Of Volcanic Doom' is a cracking instrumental, chugging relentlessly, and I really wish it was longer than one minute thirty seconds... The intriguingly titled 'Vial Of Holy Water Found In An Ancient, Cobweb-Laden Mausoleum' opens with a chant you would normally hear coming from a monastery. As the doom metal riff takes hold and buzzes with an awesome chug, the vocal delivery is more in tune with the doom metal genre. The chorus breaks out into a sing a long affair and Keith has shown plenty of craftsmanship in creating addictive and mesmeric songs. 'Candles In The Crypt' is another instrumental that strikes at the heart of the progressive genre as it hustles and bustles on its way.    
A cracking vocal display compliments the swaggering guitar riffage of 'Lighting The Mummy On Fire'. Slow paced and very much steeped in doom, 'Lighting The Mummy On Fire' is a restrained beast, that if let loose would be a raucous rampage of terror. A definite highlight on the album 'Lighting The Mummy On Fire' is a mesmerising piece of architecture. Picking up the pace and rocking hard, 'Realm Of The Beholder' bristles with energy and is an electrifying stroll. Add a superb slice of the melodic and 'Realm Of The Beholder' is the most heavy metal sounding song on the album...and my favourite too. The heaviest riffing has been reserved for the doom heavy instrumental, 'Ossified Remains'. Buzzing like a chainsaw, the guitar sound is just amazing and has a definite "wow" factor about it. Mid way through and 'Ossified Remains' picks up pace and is blisteringly mental for half a minute. This is great stuff. Bringing this epic fantasy journey to a conclusion is the sombre and brooding 'A Forest Of Gravestones'. Seemingly without a care in the world, 'A Forest Of Gravestones' displays a grunge inspired, progressive vocal performance over a melancholic rhythm.    
Overall, a doom metal inspired romp without the doom metal vocals or mood, with buzzing guitars, infectious rhythms, and a powerful, soaring vocal delivery.    
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
Reviewed For Unearthed Elf    
Review is also featured at Metal Gods TV