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Shape of Despair : Shades of... : Metal albums reviews

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Shape of Despair : Shades of..., brief review

Shape of Despair :  Shades of...

Band name: Shape of Despair

Safe to say, this is my favorite release out of the entire funeral doom genre. Such power and emotion conveyed throughout the duration of the disc is unmatched in the metal world.

Slow, plodding riffs with REAL instruments (along with keyboard arrangements) dominate this album. Songs such as opener "...In the Mist" have waltzy feels with 6/8 rhythms, though I don't believe anyone will be waltzing to this.

The male vocals on the album are very powerful, a more voiced version of fellow countrymen Skepticism with a slight nasal quality, shared with very gentle, soaring female vocals. The lyrics written for "Shades Of..." are profoundly sad, telling of a traveler who is banished from his town and is doomed to walk the Earth for eternity, unable to die. Speak of "[his] frozen feet" add on much to the rich, despondent atmosphere displayed through the cold folky-orchestral arrangements and wall-of-noise guitars and slow, plodding drums in the backgrounds.

Rhythm does not vary from song to song, which might turn many away, but I view this 5-song masterpiece as one piece of music divided into 5 movements, like, say, a Dream Theater CD (though I would never even think of comparing the two).

This is a very good introductory album for someone who wishes to get into funeral doom metal. The many melodies that occur simultaneously, though slow, are very catchy and clutch you in their icy grip, not letting go until the cd is over, and you still want to hear more.

Favorites (though each song is amazing):
...In the Mist

Breaking the mold is never easy, but Shape of Despair did that with their debut album 'Shades of...'. For many (if not most) Funeral Doom bands, the idea of playing slow consists of the guitarist(s) striking one chord, waiting a few seconds/minutes then striking another one. With the drums following suite in that the bass, snare or hi-hats are struck in relation to the guitars plodding pace. Shape of Despair, on this album at least, have both guitar and drums moving at a constant pace. This release is nothing short of groundbreaking.

The production is alright, considering the members involved, it could have been much better (this doesn't detract from the music however). The guitars are melodic and open chorded throughout the entire release. There are distorted and clean guitars in every song. They play very dark and despair ridden passages.

One thing in Funeral Doom is that there typically aren't bass players; this isn't the case with Shape of Despair. The bass surprisingly does its own thing for the most of the album. The drums are very simplistic utilizing the bass, snare and hi-hats for at least 90% of each song with the odd fill here and there. This actually works with the music well.

The keyboards are prominent in the beginning, mid or end of any given song. They enrich the already bleak atmosphere the guitars provide.

The vocals are the only drawback to what would have otherwise been a near flawless CD. They would be better suited to Black Metal or perhaps another fast type of Metal. They sound forced and augmented by an effects processor.

This album is recommended to all who want something different in the field of Funeral Doom as its anything but standard. This album is very organic and is constantly in motion. This is worth your money!

Album: Shades of..., review

The bands country origin: Finland

Metal albums reviews

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