Metal Review – Shores of Null: Quiescence

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Metal Review – Shores of Null: Quiescence
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Shores of Null: Quiescence
Melodic Black Metal, Melodic Doom Metal
Candlelight Records
March 25th, 2014
Release length: 44:44
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Shores of Null is a relatively new group based out of Rome, Italy. They are a five piece that features members of the bands Zippo and The Orange Man Theory, collectively striving to create music that bridges the gaps between Doom Metal, Gothic Metal, Melodic Black Metal, and Death Metal to name a few. In 2013, they signed with powerhouse Candlelight Records to release their debut full-length album Quiescence, an effort that can easily be considered one of 2014’s most highly anticipated releases. But does it really hold up, or is it just too soon?

Well it doesn’t take long for Quiescence to establish how dark and gloomy it is with “0x0000.” Deep guitar chords with a slightly sharpened edge ring out with simple held notes that get a little more technical as the drums pick up a stronger pattern as well. It’s a trudging start that shifts into a hopeless march, ending with a short guitar solo that asserts a cold, melancholic atmosphere that is a constant reminder throughout the release. “Kings of Null” carries a bit of a Melodic Black Metal touch full of mourning emotions that are complimented perfectly with the soothing clean singing in a Progressive manner akin to Enslaved. Sadly, while this is a fantastic slab of misery, the performance seems to give up just past the three minute mark despite clearly have plenty of life left in it to continue the downtrodden journey.

Thankfully, “Souls of the Abyss” instantly makes up for this. The softer leads create a truly moving and somewhat grand presence before slipping into some of the most depressing melodies that don’t just tug, but rather pull on the heart strings with great force, leaving you struggling to not break out into tears. The singing only adds to the misery, and the growls are a nice touch. The climax is a bit rocky, not quite ending with the same emotional impact it had started out with, partly thanks to the extended Death Metal passage and accompanying growls, but easily comes up one of the strongest tracks the album has to offer. The only other that compares is “Ruins Alive,” which is full of sobering main verses and bridges with a chorus that is simply epic. Around two minutes and twenty seconds in things just explode with rich guitars, furious drums, and depressing leads that start off in the background and move their way forward during the chorus, all wrapping up with a truly grand and energetic conclusion that is the perfect send off to this spectacular performance.

“Night Will Come” is more on the aggressive side. There isn’t much in the line of an outstanding mood outside a decent sorrow that can be picked up, but there’s still a chill in the air thanks to crisp audio quality and varied harsher distortions and clean leads, such as those that sound almost like liquid at the start of the performance. After the sombre start that also acts as the conclusion, the rest takes on more of a Melodic Death Metal approach similar to Amon Amarth that thins out the guitars a bit in some spots, and introduces some layered shouting that sounds like gang chanting thanks to the layering just past two minutes in. “Time is a Waste Land” is much closer to that comparison though. The hooks aren’t quite as dynamic, but some of the riffs could easily have been torn from With Oden on Our Side. It’s also the only song on the album to not sound bleak and hopeless, a major let down considering how badly it disrupts the flow established in the seven songs that came before it.

As you might expect, this debut album has it’s troubled moments. But, as a whole, Quiescence is memorable, impressive, and extremely addicting. While Shores of Null make their many influences known throughout the release, ranging from Woods of Ypres, Amon Amarth, Insomnium, even down to vocal harmonies on “Pain Masquerade” akin to Alice in Chains, the major factor seems to come back to Amorphis. While it’s impossible to deny this sounds a lot like something that group would turn out, there’s as many differences to them as there are similarities, and in many ways even put some of that band’s work to shame in just their first outing. It’s clear Shores of Null still needs some time to hone their sound, but Quiescence is still a bleak, depressing recording that continually drags you down, drowning you with in a sea of frostbit hopelessness, making this one of 2014’s most impressive albums.

01. 0x0000 – 2:02
02. Kings of Null – 3:47
03. Souls of the Abyss – 6:18
04. Night Will Come – 4:00
05. Ruins Alive – 3:52
06. Quiescent – 5:09
07. The Heap of Meaning – 5:03
08. Time is a Waste Land – 4:14
09. Pain Masquerade – 4:19
10. Eudaemonia – 6:01
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Shores of Null

Digital review copy of this release provided by Candlelight Records.