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Shape of Despair is a doom metal band from Finland. I've heard them classified as "funeral doom metal", meaning that they play at the slow marching pace of a funeral.
The overwhelming feeling of this album is one of depression and loss. It's the kind of sorrow that makes me think of someone watching their life's work crashing down around them as they realize that nothing's left. If there is a more depressing band in existence, I'm not sure I want to find out.
The music itself is, of course, very slow paced. The songs spend a lot of time building up to an instrumental crescendo, with each instrument coming in gradually as the song progresses. This rewards the patient listener with an atmospheric and emotional experience, but will bore many people to tears. If you can't listen to slow-paced metal songs, then Shape of Despair will drive you absolutely crazy. But for those who like depressing music (such as myself), this is what you've been looking for.
The keyboards are very prominent and have a film soundtrack sound to them. In my opinion they make the album. The vocals are a slow roar that sound great for this type of music. It's hard to believe that Pasi Koskinen is doing them, but apparently he is. Needless to say, he doesn't sound like he does in Amorphis.
If you like doom metal or depressing music, you can't go wrong with this album. All of the tracks are okay, but "...To Live For my Death..." is probably the best.