It comes as little surprise that Finland, a country whose sun-cycle engenders circadian insanity, is host to a veritable pantheon of definitively heavy bands. Desolate Shrine stand proud amidst their ranks, hoisting aloft a looming colossus of atmospheric death metal to further blot out the sun. Standing on the shoulders of an already potent discography, fourth album, Deliverance from the Godless Void, weaves arcane Incantations through Thergothonian vistas for yet another evocative and doubly crushing outing. 2015’s The Heart of the Netherworld smothered and stifled with its dense environs; this time around, the Fins have donned a notably blackened mantle, and while it doesn’t alter the spell-craft too dramatically, the added fire and brimstone most certainly serves to unsettle already perilous waters.

If you’re new to the band, what Desolate Shrine play is an inclement death metal ensorcelled with a doom sensibility to shame Nostradamus. But realistically, the line between the extreme genres is increasingly slight here, as a prominent black metal inflection commands more and more of these occult orchestrations. “The Primordial One” wields Norwegian notes amidst relentless tides of blasting drums and mournful guitar leads, often building to disconsolate crescendos, while the bands’ diseased desire to toy with tempos soon rears its head on “Lord of the Three Realms,” employing an ebbing, sea-sick rhythm amidst the vocals of duel-frontmen, M.T and R.S, whose confluence of rusted rasps and aphotic deeps manage to haunt in equal measure.

While this is an act whose nature is effortlessly abyssal, Deliverance has a deceptively wicked way with riffs — an angle left somewhat unattended on previous records. “Unmask the Face of False” and album centrepiece, “The Graeae,” both manipulate brooding doom riffs that are simultaneously devastating and eerily memorable, and with each song a whisper under ten minutes long, monotony is never an issue, with enough alterations in structure to see the advanced lengths flow by in the blink of a masochistic eye. The latter in particular unravels slowly before carving out vast sunken grooves to immediately engage the neck, sparsely accented with isolated piano keys for a truly chilling entry. Connoisseurs of traditional immediacy in their metal may not delve too deeply here, and as such, the claustrophobic quality the material thrives on might not be for everybody. This is blackened death metal at its most pernicious, and if those genres don’t apply to your musical specifications, then neither will Desolate Shrine. Fortunately, those listeners possessed of a more tempestuous taste can rely on cuts like “Demonic Evocation Prayer” to exemplify its title, scorching through its existence with savage abandon, often accelerating beyond the passages of unsettling calm the song provides amidst its innate storm.

In comparison with previous albums, the production here is a shade cleaner. Though hardly sanitized, it does offer the quality of the mix a chance to stand out, cementing multi-instrumentalist, L.L’s consummate dedication to Desolate Shrine in his ability to deliver feral guitar lines and contrast them with inescapable crunch. The production particularly emphasizes his noteworthy drum work, proliferating a jarring dichotomy of insistent blastbeats amidst creative fills that accentuate the record’s more pensive moments, allowing those vilifying vocals to emanate up from the ether. Such is the quality of the writing, the record builds in pressure throughout its run-time – “The Silent Star” gathers up a collection of those lumbering rhythms and displays them boldly over suffocating atmospherics, anchoring the album’s second half with a grave gravitas amidst its more scathing siblings.

Black, death, atmospheric, call it what you will, this is music to drown in — emotionally unforgiving and perversely obsessional. Desolate Shrine are a band that elicit hyperbole and deservedly so, as their brand of darkened discontent is superlative in itself. In a genre where “malevolent” is often synonymous with “pantomime,” Deliverance from the Godless Void offers a legitimate ink-blotted gloom to submerge ourselves — an experience I urge you not to miss — come this chill turn of the season. Layered with adept musicianship and predatory writing, this is the current jewel in this Finnish leviathan’s crown, whose wicked propensity for aural ugliness proves inexorably that Desolation is forever Godless, and this whole act immutably decreed.


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records
Websites: desolateshrine.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/desolateshrine
Releases Worldwide: November 10th, 2017

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  • ssorg

    4.5, Finnish?? Doom? Death?? today is going to be a good day

    • Brutalist_Receptacle

      “Are you Finnish? Then wipe yourself.”

      .

      – – Moms

      • sir_c

        You’re mistaken, I’m Nealy Dunn

    • Frost15

      Add that excellent cover art, Shrine in the bandname and I’m sold…

    • ssorg

      and DR 10

    • ssorg

      Going to have to give this a couple more listens before I buy, but holy hell is that ending titanic!

  • Eldritch Elitist

    The music ain’t my jam, but the review absolutely is. Phenomenal stuff, my dude.

    • VikingSchism

      The words were good words. You can see why I don’t go into the review business

      • GardensTale

        You can see why I feel humbled by some of my peers here.

    • Eli Valcik

      Yeah music ain’t my jam either. I like to call that style Chaos Metal because it’s just like an indistinguishable wall of noise where everyone is playing their instruments very fast but they never really synergize with each other. Also everything sounds really far away and muddled. Review is great!

      • Eldritch Elitist

        I call it Kronos-core.

        • Eli Valcik

          hahaha yeah, that works too.

        • Kronos

          Just when I thought my year end list was getting clearer…

      • Yolo Swaggins

        Yeah, I would agree with that description. I like my black metal; but I like parts of simplicity mixed in with the chaos. My prog is showing again.

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Thanks, man. The album’s centre is very riff heavy – you might enjoy the whole more than the sum, so to speak.

  • Goldicot

    Can you speak at my funeral? “He lived a life of circadian insanity, and many have described him as “inclement gloom ensorcelled with doom.””

    Anyway, this album rules. My impression is that it doesn’t need all of the opening tracks it has, but once it hits “Unmask The Face Of False”, it is inexorable.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      I’m going to start using “ensorcelled” in sentences.

      “I was quite ensorcelled by that piece of fish. It was good enough for Jehovah”.

      • hallowed

        Blasphemy!

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        “My turd ensorcelled the toilet bowl”

      • sir_c

        Ensorcelled is the new throbbing

      • ssorg

        Ensorcelled by gravemould

    • Ferrous Beuller

      Yes – payment to be made in souls and spinal fluid.

    • herrschobel

      hilarious comment …let´s hope that day shall not come anytime soon !

    • ssorg

      I mostly agree. For me, parts of this album get lost in the wash, but “The Graeae” and “..Of Hell” are two of the most gargantuan death metal tracks I’ve heard in ages.

  • Name’s Dalton

    4.5? Yeah, it’s that good.

  • Pimpolho

    ROTY material, no doubt.

    • Yes, no doubt. More Dan Lowndes too.

  • MITCH TRVBISKY

    ive had this album’s bandcamp page up since friday, this thing is massive.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Loved their last release. Nice to have such impressive stuff coming out this late in the year. We’ll see what December holds.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    That band photo: Unicorn horn engage!

  • Scourge

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much more I enjoy this album over their previous one. It wasn’t bad, but the clearer mix and black additions make this a stellar release and it’s upending my top ten list for the year. Been listening on repeat the last few days.

  • hallowed

    At this point I’m throwing money blindly at Dark Descent. I trust them with everything they release and this is no different, real killer of an album.

    • Metal and Hockey

      Haha me too. I feel I should get to take Dark Descent off on my taxes this year I’ve spent so much money with them

      • Name’s Dalton

        I’m issuing them a W-9.

  • Metal and Hockey

    4.5? Wow! I got their last album and liked it but sounds like this new one is a must hear. Ordering it immediately. Great review!

  • You wot m8?

    I was already incredibly stoked for this release, but you’ve somehow managed to push that dial to 11. Fantastic review, fantastic band, no doubt a fantastic album. I cannot wait to listen to it in full!

  • Handy Donut Hole

    “Ensorcelled” fucking word of the week right there. Top work on this review.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Ensorcelled Metal Guy.

  • PretentiousFuckwad

    That band photo is in desperate need of a unicorning. :p

    • herrschobel

      yeah…they look like they sit on unicorns already

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    Ferrous ‘verbose ‘ Bueller strikes a high note. 4.5 for the album and I’d suggest a solid 4.5 for the review: The meter, rhetoric vehicles, imagery, conveyed emotion, all weaved with technical know how and geographical facts. And all without name dropping.

    It will definitely make my ROTY list.

    How very meta.

  • Gage

    Not feeling this one at all, but I typically hate anything under the “atmospheric” category. Still a nice review.

  • Thatguy

    Band photo – dark, mysterious, more to see the deeper you look.. It is Thatguy approved and so is the music.

  • Angelus

    Best review of the year. There are no fancy words, just illiterate people pretending to understand them while googling them at Urban Dictionary. This album is a beast!

  • Kronos

    Wow this shit is nearly as good as Phrenelith. Great write up, Ferrous.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Yes, but how does it compare to Bufihimat?

      • Kronos

        They’re apples and oranges.

  • Jrod1983

    One of my favorite albums of the year so far, which is no surprise as I’m a huge fan of these guys.
    The Heart of the Netherworld is one of my all time favorites.
    Excellent review as well, great writing.

  • Feck! Converge might be on the ropes for AotM! Being a fanboy, they still get my vote, particularly due to the omission of previous album reviews on here.

  • I guess I just don’t like this style of music but I do REALLY enjoy good writing. Phenomenal review, this is why I read every review on the website even if the music doesn’t do it for me. Great job.

  • Tofu muncher

    Paused Amberian Dawn’s latest for this. Not displeased.

  • AgonMcDuck

    If the vocals were JUST a wee bit clearer! Idk. But the riffs are fucking great. That’s the only thing bugging me about this.

  • herrschobel

    usually i only listen to upbeat sunny music BUT this is really great !

    ..and does this man know how to write !

  • Sean Sky

    Key to getting a 4+ rating on AMG these days is to be doom, a wall of dense as fuck noise, or some combination of the two. Or be Alestorm.

    • John

      Check out Caligula’s Horse – In Contact :D They gave it a 4.5 and it’s a fantastic album that is most definitely not doom or a wall of noise. Subterranean Masquerade – Vagabond is another good example.

      • Sean Sky

        I was teasing. Caligula’s Horse was good but I think 4.5 was a little too high honestly. After a few listens I don’t know if I see myself revisiting it very much. I actually forgot about Vagabond… I have to give that album another listen one of these days.

    • ssorg

      You can also just not be metal, or be “post metal” (if you’re really post-metal then where are your tattoos?)

  • Joe Rico

    Surprised to see a DR of 10. But the pushed back muddied-on-purpose mix is unnecessary. The mids are HEAVILY scooped out and the entire affair is pushed BACK. Listening on a pair of more flat headphones fixes things but it’s interesting when the 2012 reissue of A Blaze In The Northern Sky is more in your face. Crushingly satisfying music….frustrating mix.

  • Jay Majesty

    I never could get into this band. It seems like a wall of noise but as you listen to it everything becomes much clearer. I sat down and listened to the whole album a few times and its one of the best of the year. Their riffs are unique and really give off that dread atmosphere usually heard in black metal.

  • Gena Gorin

    It’s ok, but nothing compared to The Year Zero Blueprint.

  • Bert Beukema

    This is. Ehm. My ears hurt. Yes, that’s it. Not my cup of tea, sorry.