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Hammer of Hate is primarily, if not even exclusively, known for its black metal releases, but Desolate Shrine’s Tenebrous Towers is a change to that paradigm for the first time: what we’ve got here is some damn massive and crushing old school death metal. However, considering the morbid atmosphere and utter evilness of the record, it’s no longer that weird to see it being released through a black metal label. And, admittedly, there’s also some flirts with black metal within this monster of an album.
The very first thing to notice on Tenebrous Towers is indeed the sound that is just huge: the murkiness and relatively slow tempo (in general) nods to doom metal’s direction every now and then. Perhaps the riffs don’t delve in total uniqueness but the way they combine the sheer crushing element of death metal with black metalish menace is impressive - the first song ”The Smell of Blood and Iron” is already a fine example of that, and also one of my favourities of the whole. ”Crushing Darkness” churns like some sort of a flesh grinding machinery, and later incorporates some brooding doom bell atmospheres to the mix, another highlight of the bunch.
Handled by two members, the vocals deserve a mention too. You could think of Uncreation’s Dawn’s and Uncelestial’s Diabolik who also shifts from deep growls to higher pitched shrieks. The similarities don’t stop at the vocals though, as I’m seeing something familiar in the guitar ideas as well, so Tenebrous Towers is definitely recommendable to the fans of those bands - and I do happen to love those bands, so logically Desolate Shrine has hit the rights spots for me. Kick ass riffage with a lot of occult darkness, that is Tenebrous Towers in a nutshell, and this nutshell works like magic. No need for hesitations if it sounds like your deal, too.
4 / 5
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