Shape Of Despair - Angels Of Distress LP (Black vinyl)
Shape Of Despair’s second full length gets re-issued on vinyl, leading the Funeral Doom procession!
If one could translate the saddest moments into audio, the resulting misery would be coded as Shape Of Despair’s second album, and their magnum opus, “Angels Of Distress”. This possibly the best funeral doom metal album you will hear.
And one might not even fully understand why you might like it so much. It might have something to do with the whole being greater than the sum of its parts: Stand alone, the female vocals would not sound as atmospheric as they do, but behind the droning drums, drawn-out guitars, and flowing synths, they sound perfect. And this goes for every other aspect of the album, where they all fit together like a complete jigsaw puzzle.
What “Angels Of Distress” also shows other up-and-coming doom metal bands is something very important: you do not require to play at agonisingly slow speeds to make quality Funeral Doom. The final track “Night’s Dew”, is quite rapid, compared to Doom Metal standards, but the guitar and violin mixed in make it the ultimate closer of this fantastic album. Even the title track seems fast, but it also appears to be one of the more melancholic songs here, particularly at the start.
The vocals are sublime. While Pasi Antero Koskinen could easily work his way into a Death Metal band, his delivery here is simply marvellous. He is powerful and emotional at the same time, which is rare for growling. What makes his vocals more precious is the fact there are not a lot of them throughout the album…most of “Fallen”, except the very end, is an instrumental, and “Night’s Dew” is a complete instrumental, with large, silent breaks in the middle 3 songs.
Speaking of music, what we have here are some of the saddest music pieces one will hear. The track “…To Live For My Death…” contains one of the most depressing opening riffs ever heard, which thankfully is repeated at the end of the song. What brings this riff up (or crushes it, whatever you prefer), is the use of the violin. If Toni Raehalme was not a part of Shape Of Despair, this album would be incomplete. Her inclusion ensures that “Angels Of Distress” is the best, depressing album it could have been.
We must admit that by the end of the album, one could be emotionally drained. For fans of Funeral Foom this album is a must have, as it is a complete masterpiece and deserves the recognition.
Must have if you enjoy: Skepticism, Saturnus, Evoken, Colosseum