PICK OF THE WEEK: Doom, chaos explode into Desolate Shrine’s death on filthy ‘…Godless Void’

It’s been dark and dreary here the past few days, just weeks after I complained in one of these very opening paragraphs that it was way too bright and warm for this far into the autumn. Now, cold rains fall, the skies are thick and ashy, and it’s time soon for hibernation while the darkness envelops everything, and the lush green shrivels and dies.

These morbid times provide a perfect setting for dark, destructive music, and the new record from Finnish death metal unit Desolate Shrine is about to land in our laps. “Deliverance From the Godless Void” is the band’s fourth record in just a six-year span, and it continues their terrifying blackness and drilling far into the Earth’s crust. The band’s three members—vocalist/lyricist M.T., vocalist R.S., and multi-instrumentalist L.L.—have been the backbone of this unit ever since their 2011 debut “Tenebrous Towers,” and as they spill into this new record, their death gets deadlier, the doom elements are murkier, and there even are some forays into more adventurous terrain. These eight songs sprawl over nearly 57 minutes, and you are taken for a skull-bashing trip as they spread their horrifying tidings over songs that demand your attention and that do their best to maul you over their ample running times.

“The Primordial One” tears the roof off this record, as growls rumble and dark cloudy shifts make the earth move beneath you. The band then slides into a furious death groove, complete with murky crashing, wild yells behind the feral growls, and smearing death that disappears in a cosmic cloud. “Lord of the Three Realms” has a gruff, almost sludgy start, with guitars boiling over and the punishment coming due. Dark mashing leads its way into a blinding storm, while the guitars go off on an exploration, giving a proggy edge. From there, crazed growls and manic playing send the song out in terror. “Unmask the Face of False” is the longest cut, stretching over 10:15 and beginning with moaning guitars before the assault touches down. A doomy, funereal ambiance is laid out, while synth swells, and the feeling of morbidity is impossible to shake. Out of the shadows come spiraling guitars, grinding vocals, and an attack that just stops all of a sudden.  “The Waters of Man” is pulverizing and spindling, with the riffs chewing and disorienting, and the pace giving off steam. Guitars swim in the chaos, monstrous growls emerge, and the final moments crush the soul.

“The Graeae” is another beast at 9:06, with acoustics rising from the swamp and eerie whispers sending chills up the spine. The music smears soot, while the growls are vicious, and the pace swelters in a calculated heatwave. Melody and darkness mix as the band finds a new level of heaviness, flooding the violent ending with dark misery. “Demonic Evocation Prayer” has death riffs destroying, the pace pummeling, and an eerie cold coming in suddenly and leaving frost. But it’s not long until the temperature rises again, with the playing heading into sludgy death, the pace drilling, and a guttural strike bleeding away. “The Silent Star” releases disorienting playing and a mashing death assault, leading the song toward total obliteration. The band turns into a thrashy dose of death, while the vocals smother faces, a doomy path is taken, and the nightmare rushes out. Closer “…Of Hell” is spooky and unsettling at first, as it lets music drip like blood before things get ugly. The band goes in an unexpected trippy corner, with the growls lurching and getting strange, the horror piling up, and the music blending into a nightmare of noise and organs.

Desolate Shrine remain as beastly and dangerous as ever, and the songs on “Deliverance From Godless Void” sound like they originated in a black pit of goo filled with pestilence. They’ve been a rather prolific band since their formation, and each new chapter provides more violent twists and turns into oblivion. This is as ugly as Desolate Shrine have sunk, and this record will match those dark nights and frigid temperatures perfectly.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/desolateshrine/

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/

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