Shroud of Despondency

October Falls – The Plague of a Coming Age Review

October Falls – The Plague of a Coming Age Review

Back in ’10—when I was wearing an onion on my belt ’cause that was the fashion in those days—I reviewed a record from Finnish atmospheric black metallers October Falls called A Collapse of Faith. At 40+ minutes of a single song, my Angry Attention Deficit Disorder hindered me from loving this record. While it was good, had great melodies, interesting ideas and an old school production that added a fuzzy atmosphere to the whole thing, I was never able to really bring myself to come back to it. It might have been perfect for some of the depressing, snowy days that we get here in Sweden, but I’ve got a quite bit of go-to music for that. Still, I was curious was when I received the promo for The Plague of a Coming Age. With its fantastic cover art, and its 9 easily distinguishable songs, I thought this might be a step in a direction I could enjoy.

Sophicide – Perdition of the Sublime Review

Sophicide – Perdition of the Sublime Review

Technical death metal was the darling of the death metal scene about 5 or 6 years ago, but since the ever-growing retro-death craze has begun to take over the number of quality technical death metal releases that I’ve gotten my hands on has dramatically decreased. Still, that didn’t stop the now 22 year-old Adam Sazslo from writing a bunch of pretty fucking sweet techy songs and getting himself a worldwide deal with Willowtip. Perdition of the Sublime is Sophicide‘s debut record and one can see why this record – produced by someone who can’t tour to support it – is being released by a label of this quality: because it’s a truly elite technical death metal experience.

Cormorant – Dwellings Review

Cormorant – Dwellings Review

Cormorant is a band that I probably would have never found on my own. Instead, I just randomly got an e-mail from their promoter a couple years back, where she hooked me up with the band’s 2009 release Metazoa. I was duly impressed by what these coasties had to offer, so when I saw that these guys had a new record coming out, I definitely reached out to get a promo of it. And I’m happy that I did, though I think that Dwellings is a different beast from Metazoa. Bad? Definitely not. But did the band grow and get a lot better? It seems like the maintained a pretty even keel during the two years away.

Subrosa – No Help for the Mighty Ones Review

Subrosa – No Help for the Mighty Ones Review

I consider myself a pretty open-minded guy. Sure, I’m angry and a tad dogmatic at times, but I’m certainly not unwilling to engage in new ideas or to follow along with people when they do innovative things. But one trend, or musical movement if I’m going to be polite about it, in the metal underground that I just have never been able to get on board with is sludge or funeral doom. As I’ve said before, I just get bored. My attention span isn’t up for this stuff. There is a mind-numbing simplicity that I think you can only appreciate if you’re really stoned and I, frankly, don’t touch the stuff.

Grayceon – All We Destroy Review

Grayceon – All We Destroy Review

Grayceon is a three-piece progressive metal band from San Francisco that was formed in 2005 and that is releasing their third full-length All We Destroy via Profound Lore (which is being distroed by Sound Pollution in Sweden, by the way). Since their 2007 debut, the band has been hailed as something totally unique on the metal landscape, and in 2011 this is still very true. In fact, I would go so far as to argue that they are a singular voice in the area in such a way that there is very little functional comparison to a reader understand what it is that they do, and more specifically why it’s so damn successful. However, as a music reviewer that’s my job (or in this case, ridiculously time consuming habit), so I shall wade fearlessly into the fray and hope that you, angry reader, are left with a sense of why you should head over to Profound Lore’s website and purchase the record.

Shroud of Despondency – Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion Review

Shroud of Despondency – Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion Review

Some say that the album is dead. And no, by this I don’t mean vinyl, because for all but the biggest audiophiles vinyl really is dead. I mean the album; a set of interconnected songs that form a whole, that induce you to sit and listen to them all and enjoy. Every truly monumental record is one of those kinds of records, one that should make you want to sit down and listen and just feel that swelling in the chest, or whatever you feel when you find something that really hits home. Few live up to this these days and I think there are several reasons for this, though, I’ll save those for another time. But Shroud of Despondency’s Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion is one such record, a cohesive whole and a supremely honest offering which, for all its warts, is a tremendous piece of work.

More Shroud of Despondency Amazingness

As far as I’m concerned, one of Wisconsin and Michigan’s best kept secrets is the solo project of one Rory Heikkila: Shroud of Despondency. I posted earlier about his amazing tracks from the record Objective: Isolation which is soon to be released (hopefully). And now, he’s apparently gotten together with the drummer and vocalist from Owlscry to create 5 new tracks of fucking amazing black metal. This stuff is sans bass and vocals and “slightly unmixed” and still it is fucking better than most of the stuff I’m getting in as promos. It is fucking phenomenal, to say the least. One observer put it like this: “Dude, your music is so good it makes me cry.” Not because it’s so emotionally evocative (though, it’s that too) but because it’s just so fucking good and as a musician you can’t help but be a little jealous.