Shores of Null – The Loss of Beauty Review

It’s a dreary, overcast March afternoon as I type this review. The ground remains caked in mud, the air battles between the dampness of southern humidity and the frigidity of winds that blowing in from the north, and even though it’s not raining yet, the weather-induced migraine that I’m currently nursing indicates that it desperately wants to pour any given minute now. Needless to say, it would be par for the course for the last, oh, couple of weeks here in weather-temperate Florida. Normally, I would also say it would be an ideal day to review The Loss of Beauty, the fourth full-length by Italian doom merchants Shores of Null. I take issue with this train of thought, however.

Because it could be a perfectly sunny, crisp, beautiful day with chirping birds, calm winds, and a food truck that circles your neighborhood that serves ice cream, tacos, margaritas, or all of the above, and this would still make a great accompaniment to that picturesque day. Recorded around the same time as 2020’s incredible single-song Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)The Loss of Beauty doesn’t so much pick up where that album left off as it acts as a companion piece of sorts rather than a continuation. There’s a greater sense of urgency to the riffs, such as on proper opener “Desperation Woe” and “My Darkest Years,” which definitely have an Amorphis and Insomnium feel to them. And while the overall mood of the album is still downtrodden and dark, it still doesn’t feel trite or one-dimensional in its delivery.

And that’s due, in large part, to frontman Davide Straccione. His clean vocals have always impressed me over the years, his Tomi Joutsen-meets-Jerry Cantrell inflections adding a unique (and incredible) contrast to the high quality doom metal his bandmates have displayed on their prior albums. On The Loss of Beauty, Straccione’s voice has gotten warmer, adding a weathered, almost wearied tone, elevating tracks like “The Last Flower” and album highlight “Fading as One” to lofty heights. Also, Straccione’s death growls make a welcome return, bringing ferocity to the majority of the songs on The Loss of Beauty.

But while this makes an incredible companion piece to Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying), it doesn’t quite eclipse it. The mix takes some of the responsibility, as once again it feels too compressed except when it comes to the three instrumentals on here, especially the beautiful “The First Son.” The other problem lies with the length. The LP version is a tight 48 minutes, whereas the digital and CD versions are almost 55 minutes, and those two extra songs (“Underwater Oddity” and closer “Blazing Sunlight”), while not bad, are ultimately inconsequential to the overall flow of the album.

Once again, Shores of Null continue to impress with yet another slab of high-quality doom/death that seems the quintet on an upwards trajectory. Their “Alice in Chains gone doom” recipe needs no repairing, thank you kindly, and while they’ve been around for nearly a decade, it’s still exciting to see where they go from here, because it still feels like The Loss of Beauty is hinting at even greater things to come. Add this to your overcast morning breakfast coffee moments, or your sunny afternoon chillout sessions.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Spikerot Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: March 24th, 2023

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