It is not often that we see a one-track album these days. The last one RMR covered was from Insomnium, and this was way back in 2016. So truly, when I first fired up the new album of Shores of Null, I thought that not all of their wares downloaded correctly. Only to find that this one track lasted for a little more than 38 minutes.1)
So, by the miserable minions of Loki, Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying) really is one of those rarities. Made by bands with a cocksure reassurance that such things still can truly be pulled off in these modern times.
And remember, the big woozy psychedelic masters of the past loved those overly lengthy tracks many a decade ago. Not for a full length, mind you. Vinyl has two sides, so that limits possibilities some. But the outcome surely often wasn’t to their advantage nonetheless.
So let’s get to the spoiler alert right away.
Beyond the Shores is a superb Doom Metal album with an unctuous flow that I have seldom heard to date. In other words, who would have thought that a relatively unknown band would chuck out the biggies in the genre? So, begone Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride2), great as your 2020 offerings may have been.
The record builds its story on Kübler-Ross’ now contested theory on death and dying. Chiefly, the five stages of grief3) that the RMR crew already encountered in 2018 with Arkuum. But wherever that theory stands in today’s esteem, it is one killer storyline for this album.
Because Beyond the Shores taketh where doom is the juiciest. A slow-marching, tear-drenched threnody of Black, Gothic, and Doom Death Metal at almost funeral speeds. All of that ocean of sorrows delivered in a gazillion of shades of grey on soaring melodies and tasty riffs.
The band also realized that the project may be bigger than themselves. So, they called upon Elisabetta Marchetti whose ethereal chantings really gave us pause. And those neatly add to the quality doom that is already on offer. She is – of course – not unknown in the RMR review distribution office, mainly for her involvement with Párodos and the now seriously defunct Riti Occulti.
The delicate ballet of cleans, growls, and screams is yet another instance of this artful geekery on Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying). And truly, Davide Straccione‘s top-notch contribution took me aback a few times. Even if he sounds like Clode Tethra so much at times that I thought I had the wrong CD. That said, for the real heavy lifting, Shores of Null employed Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow The Sun) and Thomas A.G. Jensen (Saturnus) for growls and such. Boy, even the film master did some screaming about the soundscape.
So, not only does this band excel in their chosen vocation of tears and sorrows, they will also get you a boatload of vocal delights that not many others muster. And it’s yet another sign of maturity that they had the wisdom to call in guest musicians for a few select tasks.
Of course, employing a felt army of guest contributors may not necessarily be a hallmark of good judgment4). Yet, in this case, we are still in balanced territory without having to worry about flooding the zone too much with foreign influences. Also and whilst I get the need to revisit certain lyrical passages, the album exudes a sense of undue lengthiness. This to the point of perceived similarities in tune and delivery and the use of filler effects, scarce as they might be.
Now, towards the end – I guess we are in between aggression and acceptance – the tune grows darker. Down to a deliciously and elegantly blackened string of melodies that end in a – thunderstorm. A fitting end, I love it. Oh, and did you smoke it? The record starts with a storm and ends with yet another one. How very fitting for a dreary theme like this one.
So, let’s nail this coffin shut, shall we?
You see, we didn’t really need yet another load of doom for 20205). But Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying) was just too juicy to ignore. A piece of delicious despair, delivered on a platter of storm-ridden and excellently executed Doom Metal. A record that left anybody else in the genre in 2020 quaking in their wake.
Ed’s note: And the record successfully made it onto the 2020 Top 10 Records. Congrats!
Get dat tune:
|1.||Why is that EP so long, dammit. Ahem.|
|2.||Even a bog full of chocolate milk won’t save ye this time.|
|3.||Wikipedia, Five Stages of Grief | ‘https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_stages_of_grief’.|
|4.||It’s the too many cooks spoil the soup thing. And evil tongues may be coarser still.|
|5.||Issues galore, by Jove. And not only the pandemic, this year is full of ’em.|