ShamRain - Goodbye To All That
Spikefarm Records
Melancholic Rock
10 songs (49:46)
Release year: 2007
Spikefarm Records
Reviewed by Joe
Archive review

“Like having a bath in ice cold water” is one description I heard about ShamRain’s music, which I must say, is spot on with its depiction. Finnish goth rockers ShamRain imagine a world where all the hope, fun and happiness is gone, leaving only misery and despair behind. You’ve been warned, this is as depressive and miserable as music comes in my opinion. With members from doom/death band Hanging Garden and singer Mika Tauriainen from Entwine, ShamRain are fairly unheard of in the scene, with Goodbye To All That their third full length release. Tauriainen does a great job on front vox and actually doesn’t sound at all different to when he’s singing with main band Entwine, but don’t get the wrong idea, this is as much like as Entwine as Kelly Osbourne has real talent, errr, which is not much. J.P. Leppaluoto from Charon could have fitted in ShamRain easily enough, but the contrast between the downbeat music and Tauriainen’s more high pitched crooning vocal style, combine to make a great match.

Musically speaking, this has more in common with melancholic British rock bands like Coldplay, Travis and dozens more, than anything in the metal world, because you’d be hard pressed to call this anything close to metal. All songs are incredibly slow or mid-paced, trawling their way from start to finish, but most of the time relying heavily on Tauriainen’s vocal melodies to get the mood across. The guitars remain acoustic or very clean through out the album and the drumming does add a certain something, as I don’t think these songs could survive without them. I definitely applaud the decision to keep away from grunting vocals, as I think that would have quite literally killed the album. Some chunky guitar riffs would have been nice to break up the rest of the album for this listener, as a whole album of slow, acoustic ballad-type songs can wear you down a bit. Keyboards are perhaps the oddball in this rather pessimistic family. The quiet child who sits in the corner, keys pop up now and then to provide some haunting and chilling notes that sound fantastic, but its rather hard to notice them until a few listens. The sound of the keys, especially on Ghosts I See, switches from Opeth sounding long organ notes to a rather cheap sounding Casio (are musicians struggling that bad these days?) The track also features some female vocals, which do nothing more than contrast Tauriainen’s vocals. Lyrically, the album is incredibly downbeat and gloomy, presenting themes and ideals that pretty much say “you’re stuck in a hopeless rut and that’s where you’ll stay”. I doubt the band intended for this kind of message, but that’s just the way that I perceive the lyrics, someone else may see differently. Other Finnish bands that deal with melancholic lyrics such as Sentenced, Insomnium and even Entwine, write their lyrics in such a way that they give hope and make one rise above the problem. I don’t get the same feeling with ShamRain. The music and especially the lyrics, just suck the life out of the room, that I can’t listen to Goodbye To All That in one sitting for fear of getting depressed.

The opener, Holding The Earth, doesn’t really get the ball rolling and feels like a rather weak track to open with. Raindrops picks it up (or brings it down even) with a rather nice tune. Ghosts I See owes quite a lot to Opeth’s well respected album Damnation, which you’ll hear a lot more of during the course of the album, although not a patch on Damnation’s songwriting. Shallow Delusion is the pick of the bunch personally, with one of those simple but effective melodies that works remarkably well.Stars Will Fall is perhaps the most irritating song on the album, with Tauriainen sounding more nasally than usual, the last third of the song will have you reaching for the skip button. Evangeline is an interesting song, although no different from any other track, the keys and the “la la las” from the female vocals add a nice touch. The last two tracks, No One Remembers Your Name and Goodbyes Painted Black feel the most Brit-Rock sounding songs on the album, the latter being the most progressive, being a seven minute number with some good time changes here and there.

Not quite the next Damnnation, but not a bad effort overall. Goodbye To All That is certainly a tricky one to get into, I certainly don’t hate the album, but nor do I love it, an album that really is stuck in the middle. The songs themselves feel a tad hollow at times, although this is maybe this is the whole point, but it doesn’t make for great listening. Dizzying highs but terrifying lows at the same time, makes this most definitely a try before you buy.

Killing Songs :
Shallow Delusion, Evangeline, No One Remembers Your Name, Goodbyes Painted Black
Joe quoted 68 / 100
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