Finnish atmospheric death metal band Desolate Shrine have evolved in strides since the claustrophobic bluntness of their debut ‘Tenebrous Towers’, a thundering-yet-obscured beginning for the promising ensemble. They have been exemplar of this type of death metal where texture and atmosphere take slight precedent over heavy metal riffing. Each album moves further from the jagged, legendary Scandi-death metal tone of the guitars and follows the blurred, brutal path of peers Maveth and Lie In Ruins. A slight sea-change occurred with the third album ‘The Heart of the Netherworld’ where they’d fully embraced the fine line between atmospheric death metal, Bloody Sign-alikes, and the more technical aspirations of modern black metal. It was a heaving beast of a record even if it couldn’t manage any true memorability.
All that had been previously said of Desolate Shrine before still applies on this fourth album, yet they deserve further praise. They are still among reigning kings of atmospheric black/death metal with a dark, obscured style but this time they’ve inserted some discernible riffing that pleases me greatly. In the past I’d compared their previous records to Corpsessed but now it wouldn’t hold up for a second. I’d rather point towards modern progressive black metal for additional inspiration. The extended length of the songs, the writhing and grandiose guitar arrangements and huge, distant production all create a warm-yet-horrifying death metal experience. With these advances in quality I feel confident in saying ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ resembles The Ruins of Beverast‘s ‘Foulest Semen of the Sheltered Elite’ and that man’s belabored atmospheric black/death vitriol more than ever. It is a dark and chaotic experience that never feels overblown or overconfident.
Desolate Shrine appear to have crafted their finest hour to date though my central criticisms for their production and songwriting linger in my mind. If the record wasn’t layered as such, would the riffs stand up with greater clarity? Songs like “The Graeae” surely would, but I think the band would be compared to Incantation a lot more if they stripped things down. It is increasingly difficult to excite me with a full hour of music and while ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ doesn’t fully do so, it is an incredibly well-realized vision and a sublime emotionally flattening experience.
|Released||November 10th, 2017|
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