Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Sanctum of Human Darkness

Tenebrous Towers, last year's Desolate Shrine debut album, caught me by surprise. A band seemingly coming out of nowhere, skipping the usual underground demo stage, would normally make me cautious. And cautious I was when I first listened to the record. Then I listened to the damned thing again. And then I listened once more, this time paying the proper attention. By then, I had already put all my preconceptions aside and it took months until I reduced the frequency of listening to the record.
With their second strike, titled The Sanctum of Human Darkness, expectations were high. Fortunately these expectations were met. The a monstrous work of death metal, that stands miles away from any trends might plague the scene these days. Furthering the scope of their debut, Desolate Shrine come with their spears sharpened, producing a barrage of claustrophobic death metal with a black heart. The band creates a thick and suffocating atmosphere that demands your full attention in order to unveil all the layers and see and feel clearly under the reverb and the cavernous labyrinth that forms the eight songs that form The Sanctum of Human Darkness. At times the result can be almost transcending. There is no point at trying to describe the darkness this record emanates. It has to be felt and experienced at full. 
The only reference point that could come to mind while first listening to The Sanctum...was Aeternus' Dark Sorcery EP from 1995, in regard of the extremely dark atmosphere that threatens to engulf the listener as it comes crawling from all corners. In days that death metal suffers from boring repetition, Desolate Shrine can be a slab of rejuvenating energy to the genre. In coclusion and as a link with the previous post, it seems that the sinister forces have returned at last. 
Absolutely magnificent and essential.

The angels' trumpets sound like the coming of darkness and death. And ironically (and fittingly?) enough, while I am typing these lines, word comes that a close and loved relative of mine just died. May his soul now rest.