Thou Shell of Death – Sepulchral Silence

by Jon Wild
April 14, 2014 –


Underground metal musicians have always intensely observed ambient, no-classical, and avant-garde genres. Recognizing the same desire to merge the ideals of classical composition with modern technology and popular song structure, some merge these strands in their own metal-based music.

Debut album from Estonian band Thou Shell of Death, Sepulchral Silence drives itself with the keyboard through a duality of background arpeggios, alongside simple single-tone sequences which generate the main melody of each track. Tempi fit between the plodding pace offered by orchestral doom bands and more upbeat neo-medieval black metal, staying within the realm of death/doom metal that preserves the structure of that genre without incorporating melodic variation. Harmonically logical, the band is more learned in its composition than the typical death/doom band, though more in the sense of ambient or pop music than classical music; as guitar chords and vocals follow the same line as established by the keyboard, rendering them mostly as accompaniment devices.

This produces a result that is easy to comprehend and appreciate, but misses the full weight that a more varied and diverse album would have produced. Tracks are difficult to individually distinguish and due to its melodic uniformity, Sepulchral Silence is well suited for background music perhaps while writing a work of fiction, but for listening for its own sake it does not evoke any lasting sensation beyond a mild but indistinct appreciation.


  • Even More Bitter Man

    Jon Wild again picks the best of the worst. But, who cares? “I like it, never want to listen to it again” applies to all metal post-94 with a few exceptions like the new Satan and Demoncy long-players.
    The question upon us now is why any of us even bother. We know all the new stuff sucks. We pretend it doesn’t because we have hope. But, fuck hope, right? Hope is like a needle to a heroin addict.
    I prompose spend all of its time writing about the older stuff. The new stuff isn’t shit. It’s worse, it’s generic. It’s a placeholder for what once was. There’s no point exploring more of this shit.

    1. Wild

      Not all the new stuff is garbage – and DMU’s mission statement for the last couple of years has been to find the best among contemporary releases, while guiding new readers to the classics.

      Are there eternal releases still being created at the present time? No. But neither are there likely to be eternal releases from the past that have been missed. When we come across something of quality however, we do draw attention to it.

      This is more productive than writing yet another article describing how black metal’s roots are Grieg, Bathory, and Celtic Frost; not Neurosis and Sonic Youth.

      We are a news site. Not an obituary.

  • Cretin

    I don’t see rehashes as a necessarily bad thing all of the time. Uninspired homages are tedious for sure but they also mean it’s likely that a majority of new people forming bands are exploring the old classics. If they’re proactive enough to pick up an instrument and make and record music, then so be it. And let’s face it, not many hardcore non-musician fans, who think they could do a better job, stay away from creating music solely because of some noble ideal of not wanting to dilute the genre with more of the same. Some folks are more driven in certain directions, for better or worse, and some aren’t. You move through the chaff, savor the odd worthy morsel and push on.