Review Summary: From firmament to abyss
On Deliverance From the Godless Void
, Finnish death metal band Desolate Shrine positively revel in the grandeur of their creation. From the massive heights of its terrifyingly spacious production, the album swoops down to overwhelm - never in a claustrophobic sense, in fact quite the opposite, the conjured realm seeming to stretch out endlessly in all directions. Even with the acknowledgement that occult themes are tried and true, Deliverance From the Godless Void
is almost seductive in its crazed conviction to adhere to its conception of darkness.
The lowest frequencies of Deliverance From the Godless Void
rumble in its underbelly; the highest ones materialize out of some unknown dimension to startle with glee. As if to flaunt its sheer stature, “Lord of the Three Realms” employs climbing broken chords that seem to allude to a particular altitude: one hinted at, but not yet explored by mortal senses. The arrival of “The Graeae” fully unveils this inverted heaven, unholy ascendence represented by the sudden apparition of piano and a pseudo-celestial shimmer of synthesized organs. There is a sinful lushness to be felt within the infinitely dense, bludgeoning riff of “Unmask the Face of False”; it carries across the perverse satisfaction of destruction, one blow at a time. Less structured but no less destructive is the unhinged “Demonic Evocation Prayer”. Though this particular song appears unfocused at times, with its erratic tempo shifts and lack of identifiable links, the album’s rhythmic malleability usually manages to translate into refreshing unpredictability; the elaborate flourishes in the drumming of “The Silent Star”, replete with syncopated cymbals, form part of the colourful traits possessed by an ostensibly tenebrous album.
As heretical as it may sound, what I believe characterizes Deliverance From the Godless Void
is the unapologetic, quasi-theatrical flair with which it conducts itself. Far from crossing the line of ostentatiousness, however, Desolate Shrine demonstrate a calculating eye in adding embellishments. When considering the average length of their compositions, the vast majority reaching over six minutes, these details become even more crucial in maintaining the allure of the album. In one refrain of “The Primordial One”, piercing upper-fret notes mesh with blast beats to instil an uncharacteristic delicateness; meanwhile, the slow-moving behemoth that is “Of Hell” sends off the album with all-out resonance and distorted organ. Its harmonious closing progression, resolving far more classically than any other sequence on Deliverance From the Godless Void
, almost reads to me as a self-aware nod to dramatic tendencies. And as a staunch proponent of triple metre, I couldn’t help but feel delighted by the diabolical waltzing found throughout. “Lord of the Three Realms” makes ample use of it, as does “The Silent Star”; for the latter, however, the time signature is not dance-like so much as it is an injection of twisted elegance into a malevolent duet. Indeed, the presence of dual vocalists is one of those textural touches that truly fleshes out Desolate Shrine’s compositions. The simultaneous usage of growls and shrieks may seem like a fairly quotidian idea, but in practice it succeeds at conveying double the amount of menace. If nothing else, it enhances the album’s sensory richness.
It isn’t difficult to succumb to the charms of Deliverance From the Godless Void
, even if said charms are wrapped with layers of dissonance and presented with maniacal grins. The album looms without loftiness, beckons me smoothly with a clawed hand. It pulses restlessly, soars and plunges in its sunless sky, mocks the stars with its own pinpricks of deceptive light. Dark this world may be, but bleak it is not.