Finland’s long-running veterans Shape Of Despair have made some quality releases throughout the bane of their existence and for someone who loves the funeral doom metal scene with bands such as Loss, Ahab, Evoken and others, Shape Of Despair are right up in my alley to create music that is emotional, deep, and countervailing. Return To The Void is the fifth full-length recording and is the follow-up to 2015’s Monotony Fields. Musically, if you know the funeral doom metal musicality you’re gonna get slow, mid-paced and heavily driven doomy styled passages that is full of melancholic arrangements that sets the mood and atmosphere to create a record that is despairing and yet, imaginative all around.
These members not only are extremely talented in what they’ve achieved in being in the scene for many years now, but to incorporate interesting melodies and the instrumentals are some of the best the band has done to date. From soaring and powerful vocal ranges from its deep, sorrowful deliverance to the wonderful harmonics, bass tones and drums giving it that tight edge and progressive nature to the album’s contexts, I truly feel this record takes multiple listens more than once to really fulfill and digest the everlasting beauty of the presentation this album demonstrated. The atmosphere, tonality, progressiveness, maturity and quality these songs brought are so full of imagination and detail in which in this case I can’t remember any funeral doom metal record that captivated with such ambitious acts and providing a moody, yet unsettling listening experience through and through.
Six tracks and clocking in almost an hour in length, songs such as Reflection In Slow Time and The Inner Desolation creates such immerse power and really does seem to resonate with me as someone who is deeply into funeral doom as a whole while the mixing, mastering and brilliantly crafted musical undertones can sometimes have the greatest impact or encouragement making this record one of Shape Of Despair’s most magical, adventurous and accessible records they’ve done in their entire career. Return To The Void is a haunting, imaginative and beautiful album all around.
Overall Score: 9.0/10
Review by Jake Butler