Resembling a collision between space-ambient music, doom metal and black metal, Thou Shell of Death creates slow-paced doom metal with the atmosphere of black metal bands — a more melancholic, brooding and existentially nihilistic outlook — but like past doom metal greats Winter, the lead instrument here may well be the keyboards, which in reverb-heavy waves lace melody through crashing guitar chords which gives them both context and foreshadows development. The ethereal and spectral sound of the keyboards conveys simultaneously an otherworldly removal and a soaring sense of possibility, which temples the normal self-indulgence of doom metal into an exploration of wonder in the darkened halls of a fallen world.
Guitars on Sepulchral Silence intelligently vary texture in the background under the keyboards which are more clearly heard both through being louder in the mix and being a clearer sound, which makes their orientation as lead intelligence. The musical role of guitar in this context is to set a basic progression in the background which the keyboards riff against in order to produce a sense of convergence, as if actors were in harmony with their background and role rather than opposed. Often mid-paced, guitars use a variety of technique including fast downstroking and tremolo but just as often fall back to the Black Sabbath/Winter styled power chords played open, or strummed once and allowed to resonate. Behind them drums lag comfortably and minimally, removing what might have been a distraction to a role as timekeeper plus a sound of inexorable time that affirms emptiness. Each progression stands distinct and keyboards take advantage of this to set up a mood that, like ambient music even of the discotheque variety, resonates around the listener while vocals are demoted to speech filling in the gaps with a narrative to center the song. Over this, heavily reverbed vocals hang like shrouds and flags hanging torn above ruins, battered by the winds of history.
Avoiding the dual traps of becoming essentially slowed-down hard rock or slowed-down death metal, Thou Shell of Death renovates funeral doom music with a new variety of emotions and technique that avoids the pitfall of this music, which is that it is often tedious both from its slowness and the resulting relative invariance of its riff texture. While riffs are relatively few compared to death metal in these songs, as in black metal songs, each serves a purpose and riffs tend to change with lyrical progress, creating the sense of a morbid storybook tale narrated by a demon rather than a rock song over which someone is ad libbing Tolkien. From this basic approach, Sepulchral Silence makes a dense liquid atmosphere that provides all of the dread and despair of doom metal but with the adventurous spirit of black metal and the hope of discovery that pervades electronic music, creating a new voice for funeral doom.
10 thoughts on “Thou Shell of Death – Sepulchral Silence”
When is the last time any of you listened to Gutted – Cold in the coffin? That song is kicking my ass right now.
Yes. That is a killer tune. Most regulars here would dismiss Gutted in a heartbeat. So what do you think of Reverence? I just don’t hear the death metal techniques Brett Stephens hears in power metal but who am I to argue? Reverence and Angel Dust are two underrated bands that should not be forgotten.
This is a great find, I will sure check it out. On more melodic note, power metal band REVERENCE released one of the best power metal albums of recent history:
Haven’t heard of Reverence. I avoid most power metal, I like to stick to the classics if I’m going to listen to that genre. I only have a thirst for new death metal. The kind that makes me feel evil inside, like Blessed Are The Sick. I Bend my knee not but for my selfish desire! The gods are pleased with me they speak my name in tongues!
That new Sammath album sounds pretty evil, I love when Fear Upon Them has that short break from the drums and then the singer just screams some high pitched evil stuff , then the drums just rip back in. So deadly, so evil hahaha
Winds of Genocide have become my favorite band since last month and I think KShevil is hot!
You greasy bastard!
Richard Head and K. Shevil ? WTF?
If you could only make one pick between this year’s Ripper vs Entrench, which one would you say is better and why?
Also Slugathor is a band that shares band members with recent DMU favorite Desecresy, any idea which band’s better ?
Working my way through older Slugathor in the future…
I haven’t listened to the new Desecrecy yet but Slugathor is a solid B whenever I hear them. Nothing new, but in terms of the “orthodox death metal” sound, they rock, along with Funebrarum and Cruciamentum.
It appears that I am popular enough to have drawn a copycat. Surely this is a groundbreaking event in the history of this site’s comment section.
You may steal my name, but you may not steal my style.
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