Shroud Of Despondency - Tied To A Dying Animal
Self Release
Black Metal/ Folk
Disc 1: 8 songs (52:33) Disc 2: 9 songs (39:32)
Release year: 2014
Reviewed by Neill

This, simply put, is a tale of two albums. The two discs presented here offer two very different views into this band. From black metal, to a more folk style sound, these two discs could not sound more different. This is quite a journey to go on, and I feel each disc should be presented individually.

Disc one, subtitled For Innocence, Beauty, And Those Who Defile is the heavier of the two discs, showing the black metal side of the band. The black metal is well done, and has some faster, almost trash style influence. The music tends to be a bit bland, albeit well performed. The leads on the album are usually very well done, and the vocal performance is strong. There are some songs that are much stronger than others, such as Winter and Warmth which to me is the highlight of the first disc. The lead is just melodic enough to break up the trashing assault, but it plays perfectly with the heavy sound the band presents.

The bands refers to this first disc as "…Largely a character exploration of the shady fuckers who make like both terrifying and interesting." Looking through the lyrics of the album, it becomes obvious this is a dark album being presented. Songs dealing with Murder, rape/sexual abuse are not exactly unheard of in the metal world, but the band does a good job of conveying the dark themes with the music. The constant bombarding black metal does paint a picture of desperation, and hopelessness for mankind. However, the first disc does begin to wear thin near the end. There is not much in the way of variety, and as mentioned earlier, the songs are a bit bland, despite quality musicians playing the music. However, this first disc does work as a great contrast to what the second disc holds.

Disc two is subtitled For Those Who Leave and Find Better Devils is the slower album of the two. This disc features mostly acoustic, mostly instrumental folk style songs. The songs are shorter in general, but I feel this is where the band truly shines. The songs are the total opposite of the first disc, in that they feel almost happier, or at least more positive in most cases. The three songs that do feature lyrics still provide a more negative vibe, but the songs feel more introspective, and still come off as more enticing than the first disc.

The music itself is fairly straightforward sounding in regards to this style, but it is done so well it really stands out above a lot of bands in the folk scene. Some songs remind me of Iron and Wine or Midlake and even some Celtic and Middle Eastern sounding music, but again, this stands out from those bands. The lack of vocals on the majority this disc is not by any means a downside, and the vocals we do get are all clean, very somber, and emotive. A perfect example would be the track Prominent Cross which has a very catchy chorus, and is great example of this side of the band.

I really do not know what else to say in regards to the second disc. For this genre, this is one of the best, most introspective and rewarding listens I've heard in some time. The first disc has some good moments but comes off as bland most of the time, with the good moments sprinkled throughout. However, anyone who likes a slower, somber, folk style music should definitely check out disc two. I would recommend the album as a whole to see the contrast, but disc two is easily the highlight. Please feel free to explore both sides of what this band can offer here on their bandcamp page.

Killing Songs :
A Man Can Dream, Winter and Warmth, all of Disc Two
Neill quoted 85 / 100
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