DESOLATE SHRINE – The Heart of the Netherworld
The Finnish blackened death metal act Desolate Shrine issue their third album "The Heart of the Netherworld", digging deep into the rawness and primal instincts of the genre for these 7 songs. LL handles all the instrumentation while dual vocalists RS (Roni Sahari, also in Lie in Ruins) and ML shriek and growl through this aural odyssey. Longer songs of the 10-15 minute variety sit side by side with more reasonable constructions such as the 7:43 "Black Fires of God" or the more atmospheric, but no less caustic "Leviathan".
The early Sunlight Sweden years of death metal certainly factors heavily into Desolate Shrine’s template, as aspects of Grave, Entombed, and Unleashed come up – but also mixing up the early black metal intensity that just sends chills down your spine. "We Dawn Anew" at 15 minutes and changes opens with quieter piano and guitar restraint before the electric high doom/death and black action takes over, RS and ML measuring their words in unison with the musical accompaniment. Patience will be a virtue in taking in this 63 minute record, but this is not going to be a technical whirlwind – the songwriting flows logically and has proper continuity.
Given my first exposure to the trio’s work, "The Heart of the Netherworld" has an underground purity that many in the genre forget about. Write and perform from the head and heart – not with money or fame intentions – and your craft should seek just rewards and admiration. Desolate Shrine has their priorities in the proper place, so if blistering music delivered in your face meets your ideal criteria for approval, I think this three-piece will do just fine.