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What we are dealing with here is another modern depressive black metal act, like many others, released to a limited 100 copies on only the tape format. Most depressive black metal is like a beaten to the ground retarded horse that can no longer pull the weight and must be put down by the owner. This is to be expected with such a release like this one. What is Count Shannath? Why not a real band name? What kind of a title is 'Journey to Happiness through Tragedy'? What drew me into this was the cover itself, almost reminds you of a nightmarish ambient release, and as tired as I am of the same music out of the genre, I purchased the only copy of this tape at the local record store to give it a listen.
And wow, I don't know what to say here. As simple as this full length may be, there exists a strong feeling of insanity. The atmosphere is perfect and consistent, very Burzum influenced. The repetitive and minimalistic nature of this album is what makes the overall tone so magical, the best way to describe would be to say Vaskosk knew exactly when to hold a note, and let it go, even if it doesn't match the music, it still generates a depressing feeling. The feeling of loneliness, or loss of a loved one. It is hard to describe, I cannot put my finger on it.
The introduction is played perfectly on a out-of-tune keyboard, kind of like entering Vaskosk's 'dark journey', which perfectly blends with the next song that just gives a real exploding entrance with a vocal range so dark and painful (a lot like Dead's vocals). However the rest of the album, the vocals have a heavy Burzum and Silencer influence on them, very unique. Combined with buried under the guitar smashing percussion that are the drums, it explores the deepest depths of our soul. It almost plays with your mind. Even after the album is finished, it draws you back to listen yet again, giving the feeling you didnt get everything from the first listen that you wanted.
The tone of the guitar is the most haunting part of the release. It is almost similar to rain, or dark winds hovering over head. The riffs themselves are creepy as well, repetitive, but creepy. The tone is tuned perfectly, I cannot make out what tuning his guitar is in, it is drowned in distortion and fuzz. At the end of this we have a twist, a cover of the one and only NON's Total War. The samples are great, the drums are simplistic, and the vocals are easier to understand. What stops this album from being a perfect 100 is the quality. I will be the first to say I love raw quality tapes, I love garage recordings and some bedroom recordings. But the sound on this tape could have been louder. I am sure it wasn't his intention, it may have been a mistake on the label's part, but that is the only downfall factor.
In conclusion, this album is very different on a large scale. This is not your average depressive black metal. This is its own genre. I definitely recommend this to anyone who truly feels the same way this tape is trying to make you feel. This is not for everybody, and lets hope that we can keep it that way.