Finnish death metal trio Desolate Shrine has been a rising force within the underground metal scene in Europe in the late decade. With four albums under their belt, the band now unleashes its fifth opus “Fires Of The Dying World” which offers a morbid and brutal inspiration from 90’s death metal. While in the previous efforts they presented the bleak facets of blackened death metal, their composition built on creating a nightmarish sort of atmosphere through the claustrophobic combination of the grisly growls of MT aka Hellwind Inferion (Embryonic Slumber, Olio Tähtien Takana, Sargeist, etc…) and RS (Lie in Ruins). Musically the fifth album shows a new paradigm in the songwriting by these Finnish masters that establish a rawer and fierce hellish sound. From the beginning of the album multi-instrumentalist LL aka Lauri Laaksonen (Convocation) conveys powerful megalith riffs and crushing drums.
Right after the short atmospheric intro, Desolate Shrine puts enormous emphasis on the guitar riffs and the double bass, the frenetic growls swirl over the powerful drum blows with the towering lead guitars giving it an unearthly feel. The song arrangements are near perfect on track “Echoes in the Halls of Vanity”, setting the vigorous pace for colossal guitar barrages. Despite the old school approach, the song unveils an eerie mixture of dark atmosphere. Demonic thrills of the dual vocals of MT and Roni Sahari reverberate with the tempo being measured by the powerful pace of the drums. Desolate Shrine showcases lavish old-school brutality combining infectious and grandiloquent guitar lines.
The percussion pummels at frenzy speed with riffs layered on top of the menacing vocals, with minimal melodies this time though the focus seems less on the bleak atmosphere. The sheer scale of brutality and relentless aggression offers plenty of mesmerism. The songs are defined by the magnitude of the unsettling riffs. The trio knows exactly when to unleash the searing barrage of the guitars and once the atmosphere intensifies, the guitars become infectiously engaging and effective. “Fires of the Dying World” see the trio perfecting their methods where one of the quintessential specimens of songwriting is how the dissonance is flawlessly displayed. A song such as “The Dying World” is more direct and bolstered by the razor-sharp guitars, wicked vocals, and propelling drums. Desolate Shrine eschews monotonous and lengthy tempos on the new album, balancing the dark atmospheric sections with the extravagant brutality.
The sound production is punchy and more distinctive than what the band has released in the past, there is also a massive weight brought by the grooving guitars. Forceful riffs and dynamic drums remain incredibly dense with the drums being fierce and straightforward, at times the hooks give way to the enormous guitars to shine. The hefty arrangements of the chugging riffs and the deep feral growls display various inspirations from the Swedish death metal bands such as Grave. Mostly the slower tempos would include horrifying moments where the lead guitars create ghastly soundscapes. Like their 2017 album “Deliverance from the Godless Void”, Desolate Shrine makes great use of its horrifying soundscapes.
The synth on “Cast to Walk the Star of Sorrow” creates truly dreadful and ominous surroundings, while climaxing into the churning death metal riffs, the drums sound like a destructive maelstrom. Yet more effectively than anything else is how the tight riffing and growls create a diabolic aural experience. The subtle use of acoustic guitars on the previous track shows how the trio can create different musical atmospheres. Desolate Shrine managed to give each song a certain element and use it to create a menacing mood whether with raspy shrieks or guttural growls. “My Undivided Blood” begins with an acoustic intro and spoken words, the intermittent riffs, and the crunchy bass guitar along with the growls are perfectly emphasized. The guitar work on the album is quite memorable brimming with grand qualities, and the acoustic guitars provide an alluring richness to the music.
Desolate Shrine mixes the frenzy elements of morbid death/doom and blackened metal, in conjunction with the abrasive riffs, the acoustic guitars make a great impression on the songs to create a suffocating ambiance. “The Furnace of Hope” is a slow burning track that divulges aural details, the slow pace of the drums contrast to the crawling doom metal riffs. In spite of its dreadful moments, the tempo quickly shifts to a fast-pace for the remaining length of the song prompting a heavy guitar barrage. Desolate Shrine has constantly refined itself in the past twelve years and their newest album “Fires Of The Dying World” is perfectly wrought with a sense of morbid death metal. If you have enjoyed their albums like “The Sanctum of Human Darkness” and “The Heart of the Netherworld”, then you will absolutely be shattered by the fifth opus from these Finns.
Release Date: March 25th, 2022
Label: Dark Descent Records
- Echoes in the Halls of Vanity
- The Dying World
- The Silent God
- Cast to Walk the Star of Sorrow
- My Undivided Blood
- The Furnace of Hope