Doom pop is an alien concept to many people. It’s hard to think of two more contrasting genres. Yet when executed well, it can be an intriguing and creative sub-genre. Maelstrom is the second single released from West Midlands trio Wishbone’s upcoming EP, and is essentially the dictionary definition (if there is one) of doom pop.
The song opens in a typical hardcore fashion with open strings, building drums, and general noise, before diving into the fuzzy, grungy, dirty main riff. It’s a wall of slow, pounding, down-tuned doom metal, but is also ridiculously catchy. There is a screeching guitar drone up in the heavens which adds to the surrealness, while all other instruments are flirting with the depths of hell. The upbeat melody juxtaposes with the dirty doom texture, creating an almost dystopian feel.
The verse calms down somewhat, with soft and calming vocals taking over the melody from guitar, with the bass still thudding away underneath. The verse is followed by a Title Fight-esque shoegazing guitar fill before plummeting back into the main hook. There is no chorus as such, with the song instead centred on said hook. Yet despite this, there are enough structural developments that it never gets overly repetitive or boring.
The vocals work well, acting as a calming force in the midst of such aggression. In addition to this, they are used sparingly throughout. Lyrics are simple and succinct and in carefully separated phrases, making sure not to detract from the other elements of the song.
Maelstrom takes influence from a whole range of genres, and could be compared in parts to Nirvana, Gallows, Lower Than Atlantis, Royal Blood, and anything in between. There seems to be less of a post-rock influence than Wishbone’s previous releases, giving it a degree of focus and directness that were previously lacking. Every element of Maelstrom is excellently executed to create a solid track. Don’t be surprised if you begin hearing much more doom pop in the future.
Review by Will Cooper