Artist: Shores Of Null
Album Title: Black Drapes For Tomorrow
Label: Candlelight Records
Date Of Release: 14 April 2017
If you are someone who prefers the darker and more melancholy side of life, then Shores of Null might be right up your street. The Rome-based quintet were formed in 2013 and received much critical acclaim for their debut album, ‘Quiescence’, released in 2014, an album that sought to blend Gothic elements with doom and black metal.
And now, after some hard work in the promotional arena, the band have returned with their sophomore release, ‘Black Drapes For Tomorrow’. Stylistically, it broadly follows a similar path in that the eleven tracks offer a miserable listening experience where darkness pervades just about every facet of the blackened and Gothic-tinged doom metal. Take yourself off to a room with no windows with this record and you’ll all but forget the fact that spring is in full swing and instead be convinced that you’re mired in the depths of winter.
The output on ‘Black Drapes For Tomorrow’ is well-crafted, slick and it is clear that much effort has been put into this record by the five musicians. As such, it is an album that will almost certainly see their stock rise further, pleasing existing fans and gaining a few more besides.
However, my opinion of it is, reluctantly, a little different. And you know how I hate to be negative in my reviews.
There are some very nice moments to be heard, such as the title track which delivers some gorgeous clean vocal melodies, wrapped up in an emotive composition blending controlled aggression with a palpable sense of sorrow. Other highlights include ‘Tide Against Us’ with its powerfully melodic intent and vocal delivery that sounds scarily like Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes in places. ‘House Of Cries’ has some commendable aspects too, most notably the frequent changes in tempo and intensity.
These aside though, I cannot shake the feeling that ‘Black Drapes For Tomorrow’ lacks a certain killer instinct. The music is perfectly nice. It does create a bleak soundscape, aided by a perfectly decent production job courtesy of Marco Mastrobuono at Kick Recording Studio. But the minute I press stop or the moment the album ends, I struggle to remember anything about it.
For me, the melodies are not consistently strong enough for it to be a truly memorable affair. The aggression is not consistently intense enough to have the desired impact. And the blend of clean vocals and growls don’t help the situation. Normally I’m a big fan of the dual vocal approach but here, it feels like the band are unsure of exactly which direction they wish to travel. Do they want to be considered an extreme metal band or are they instead aiming at the realms of dark atmospheric metal? They could, of course, go for both and more besides but it’s that killer instinct issue again – ‘Black Drapes For Tomorrow’ meanders its way to a conclusion without hammering home anything to really get my pulse racing or that truly captures my imagination and attention.
For me, whilst the music is not at all bad per se, that’s not enough on its own. I want it to be better than ‘not bad’. I want my interest to be piqued more often than it is. Whether that’s by creating sophisticated and poignant melodies or by bludgeoning me around the head with extremity, it doesn’t matter. But the sad fact is that there’s more than a whiff of ‘nondescript’ about proceedings, at least that’s my interpretation anyway.
My conclusion, rather sadly, is that I doubt I shall ever listen to ‘Black Drapes For Tomorrow’ in full ever again. I might dip in to listen to a couple of the stronger compositions but there aren’t enough of these to ensure I sit through the whole thing again. Sorry guys, maybe next time eh?
The Score Of Much Metal: 6.5
If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others from previous years and for 2017 right here:
Asira – Efference
Hologram Earth – Black Cell Program
Damnations Day – A World Awakens
Memoriam – For The Fallen
Pallbearer – Heartless
Sleepmakeswaves – Made of Breath Only
Ghost Ship Octavius – Ghost Ship Octavius
Vangough – Warpaint
Telepathy – Tempest
Obituary – Obituary
Fen – Winter
Havok – Conformicide
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Nova Collective – The Further Side
Immolation – Atonement
The Mute Gods – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
Pyogenesis – A Kingdom To Disappear
My Soliloquy – Engines of Gravity
Nailed To Obscurity – King Delusion
Helion Prime – Helion Prime
Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain
Persefone – Aathma
Soen – Lykaia
Exquirla – Para Quienes Aun Viven
Odd Logic – Effigy
Mors Principium Est – Embers Of A Dying World
Firewind – Immortals
Slyde – Back Again EP
Sepultura – Machine Messiah
Deserted Fear – Dead Shores Rising
Kreator – Gods Of Violence
Borealis – World of Silence MMXVII
Pain of Salvation – In The Passing Light of Day