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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Shape of Despair - Monotony Fields

Atmospheric death and doom metal is the specialty of Finnish bands. Thus, I had very high expectations when I started listening to “Monotony fields”, by Helsinki-based doom metal band Shape of Despair, especially since the album was 11 years in the making.

And the Fins do not disappoint! From the very first second onwards, the listener is captured by the very atmospheric, melancholic sound of the album. Grunts switch with high, clean vocals and instrumental passages, making sure that the songs never get boring or monotonous. The female vocals of Natalie Koskinen are very unique (in a good way), and together with the grunts of colleague Henri Koivula ensure goosebumps. The melodies are classic doom metal, but never drift into humdrum or kitsch. Instead, the songs invite you to just lean back and listen to a record that, at first, might be considered melancholic- however, at the end, you will be left with a feeling of joy rather than depression.

Shape of Despair’s “Monotony fields” is an album that, for sure, will be considered soon a milestone of doom metal. Why? Because the tone of the record is very subtle, and free of anything kitsch (just think of other female vocalists in comparison, such as Tarja Turunen, brrrr). Every detail is thought of to perfection, but not to in a way that it would get boring. Unlike for so many other bands, this record surely was worth waiting for. Being a fan of doom or not, this is a must-listen-to this year! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer