Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shape Of Despair - Alone In The Mist

Now this is interesting. A sort of downtempo outer sound, almost a doom record but not quite. I wasn't previously familiar with Shape Of Despair, but if Alone In The Mist is any indication of what they are capable of then color me impressed. This is an album that doesn't follow conventional rules, it doesn't care if you think it feels meandering and it certainly isn't trying to conform to any genres. Rather Shape Of Despair do exactly what they want on Alone In The Mist and it makes for an incredibly intense personal experience of the sort that few can truly wrap their heads around.

This is an album that is largely driven by a washed out keyboard and gentle drums. Every now and then extremely guttural growls, guitars and a few other sonic elements make their way in, but that is hardly the focus. Instead you encouraged to embrace the atmospheres that are gently crafted here, the way that you find yourself sifting through seemingly endless soundscapes and unveiling strange new earths. Though Shape Of Despair certainly conform to conventional Western harmony at times it feels like things might fall apart. They rarely go for tension, but rather the sheer ebb and flow of the music makes for a sound that is almost impossible to ever wrap your head around.

Yes there are clear musical roots to what Shape Of Despair are doing, Finnish doom metal seems to have had an especially big influence, as have bands like Summoning or even post black metal weirdness like Austere. However unlike some of their forefathers nothing feels especially weird about Shape Of Despair, although they certainly come off as very dark. Rather they are bitter, but their music is a conduit for this. It feels natural as anything else and leaves you in love and strangely lost – looking for more solace from these understated artists.

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