Metal hasn’t exactly changed over the years. Sure, some will argue the prevalence, quality, lasting value and all the endless sub-genres of a polluted and over congested pool of watered down and musicianship, coupled with a quick way to make a potential buck. Say what you will about the metal scene as of late as there’s a point to (what might seem like) this endless rant (hell, you’re waiting for me to actually talk about Desolate Shrine’s new album aren’t you?) The new Desolated Shrine is actually quite awesome, simply because it stands above the noise, trend-hopping and the new “need” for experimentation. The Heart Of The Netherworld refuses to hop on what ever band wagon is rolling by at the time, but neither does it conform to the endless levels of same-sounding death metal without any measure of individuality or respect for the greats that have come before them, managing to deliver the same things. The Heart Of The Netherworld is a multi-faced, murk filled and atmospheric in nature, capitalizing on a song-writing ability that’s becoming rarer and rarer as the music industry keeps churning out mediocre metal. Giving life (or death) to an abrasive and normally over-looked branch of death metal.
I know. By now you’ve probably heard of every mind-boggling exaggeration for “bone-crushing death metal” but the show of force needed in the genre that bands will rely in order to make viable music, comes and goes in drips and drabs. To the point, we should be grateful that 2015 will continue to deliver some impressive modern metal, abrasive and unrelenting. There’s also that point I delivered last year; if albums could match the over-bearing and obviously exaggerated descriptions used willy-nilly by modern publications and webzines, we’d all be in some serious strife. Metal fans would have multiple cases of neck-snapping, bone crushing, face melting and skin blistering all because of what they chose to listen to, if the pain created wasn’t enough, death would soon follow. Rather than blow an idea out of the water, wrap it in pointlessness and an over-bearing “I’m better than you” nature, modern writers need to bring some level of realism back to music reviewing.
Despite all this, Desolate Shrine’s soundscape is a rather conventional one. Building on the basic stereotypes of the genre, taming it into a matured display of heathen carnage. It’s sound is built from the old school era of death metal, a sound that die-hard fans can relate to as well as enjoy but is also coupled with a modern sounding production (no tin cans here) ensuring the band’s 2015 effort can stand where other acts fall. Desolate Shrine are trying for the summit, they’re close and the climb’s not exactly easy.
If your flavour of the day is death and carnage and decay, Desolate Shrine should tick all of the right boxes for you. The only thing that hampers a quality release like this is the fact that it has indeed been done (and many a time) before. For most that won’t be an issue and although The Heart Of The Netherworld is released so early in the year it should make an appearance in its fair share of best of 2015 lists.
2. Black Fires of God
3. Desolate Shrine
5. We Dawn Anew
7. Heart of the Netherworld