Shores Of Null‘s Quiescence was a sleeper of a debut that was so good it enabled me to get people who hadn’t been much interested in more extreme metal since Pantera or, more recently, Dillinger to get into it. Some of that is that the vocals are not only gruff growls but also dip into a rich and honeyed well of powerful and bold melody that stirs the soul. Above all the band are well-paced, don’t over do any one element and are firm in their identity.
These traits continue on new, better produced album Black Drapes For Tomorrow (which is really fucking hard to Google without getting home decoration websites as a result, dudes!). For the moment I like the debut better, but only because it made a big impact on me from the get go and I listened to it a lot. I feel like this new record is likely just as strong and am certainly yet to find fault with it, rather I need the songs to just get into my bones a little more as much as “Kings Of Null” did. That said, if you loved the band before you certainly still will. With all due respect to Katatonia, this band is packing a bit more punch these days despite not having as storied a history of releases to draw from live.
SoN are clearly hungry, however. This Rome based band sound fully committed to their art on songs like “Tide Against Us”, which gives the feeling that the tide will not be enough to halt their determination. This is one of the handful of metal bands I really want to see live these days that I haven’t. I really hope they release “A Thousand Storms” as a single if they haven’t. I feel like that could be a big song for them from this record and win both Amon Amarth type fans as well as fans of more melodic vocal, epic heavy metal. It also just has some killer guitar work.
Fans of Novembers Doom will appreciate the often borderline ponderous and morose feel of many of these songs but the band manage to inject traits of melodeath elements and classic metal flourishes as well as prominent drum fills that add forward motion to the sounds like a battle march. The stunning “House Of Cries” almost sounds like black metal meets melodeath in places and I think this band should really get on a tour with Wolfheart after hearing it, despite having much more melodic vocals. I think that would be a popular pairing.
“Carry On, My Tiny Hope” is not about how metal will make your penis grow bigger if you are a dude (though that is actually true). I have a feeling it is actually about something more inspiring like passing down legacy of heritage to family, but I have not spoken to the band about it. I DO know that it is one of the finest arrangements from the group to date, seriously setting them in a cool place and almost sounding like if Hetfield sang with Jerry Cantrell in places. It is a hard song to even do justice to descriptively as it has many movements that move even the casual listener.
The closing classical guitar influenced number “Death Of A River” also bears specific shouting out, evidence that the band’s dynamics are not a fad and they are continuing to build on some of what makes their style work so well. I really hope this group catches on more in the United States.