Shape of Despair – “Monotony Fields” (2015)

Label: Season of Mist

Review by Warren Mayocchi

Funeral doom is not a metal genre to which I typically listen, and that is what has been created by Shape of Despair. Perhaps the dark, slow and heavy genre is an acquired taste, or maybe it requires the right mood – but most music sounds wrong if you are not in a responsive personal place. On “Monotony Fields” the band have created an album of cinematic dirge. To be clear, that was a compliment. There are many elements contributing to the expansive music created by the band which keep the sound thoughtful even without any lead vocal. This is clearly demonstrated on the opening track –  “Reaching the Innermost” – where we only hear the sound of the band for the first 5 minutes after which the lead vocal begins.

The atmosphere created by the band and clean vocals is contemplative and melodic. When this type of music is done well it can assist the listener in exploring themselves and their feelings. Over the cinematic base sound created by the band the growling lead vocal cuts into what you are feeling. A choir like female voice provides a counterpoint – used to good effect on the title track, “Monotony Fields”. At other times we have the contrast of a clean male vocal. Most tracks on the album are around 10 minutes in length allowing sufficient time to slowly delve into dark emotions and the various styles the band has at their disposal. While growling vocals appear on all songs, the three vocal styles are featured throughout. On “Descending Inner Night” all vocal styles have their own space.

Shape of Despair succeed in creating a meditative mood on “Monotony Fields”. Whether you like it or not may depend on your tolerance for growling vocals. The advice that I would give you is to approach this album with acceptance, just as if you were meditating, dwell only on the sound occurring in each moment. Shape of Despair have produced what I think sounds like an instant classic.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Reaching the Innermost
  2. Monotony Fields
  3. Descending Inner Night
  4. The Distant Dream of Life
  5. Withdrawn
  6. In Longing
  7. The Blank Journey
  8. Written in My Scars

 

Line Up

  • Henri Koivula – Vocals
  • Natalie Koskinen – Vocals
  • Jarno Salomaa – Guitars & Keyboards
  • Tomi Ullgren – Guitars
  • Sami Uusitalo – Bass
  • Samu Ruotsalainen – Drums

 

Links

facebook.com/shapeofdespairofficial

twitter.com/shapeofdespair

shapeofdespair.com