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Shape of Failure - 67%

opprobrium_9, March 8th, 2006

This release is not what one would expect from SoD. This is a sad effort. I will currently list the myriad of things wrong with this album and explain later. Problems: tempo (too fast), too much filler, too many major chords, tempo, female and male (clean) vocal harmonies, lack of creativity, seems like they have lost their sound. The ups of this album were few, but definitely notable. First of all the guttoral vocals were superb; the words were understandable most of the time, and yet they are some of the lowest i have experienced in the metal genre as a whole. So that part about the album was quite fantastic, the production was phenominal as well. Another notable upside was surely some of the solitary guitar leads, some very nice sad melodies, however, the absence of creativity effected most of them.

Now to the criticism. First of all, who said one can use fucking 16th notes in Funeral Doom?!? Moreover, who said one can use 16th notes in SoD?!? FUCK! There was too much speed on this album! It felt like the structure of the songs were more in the vein of pop music, in terms of how they were arranged, by no means musically, mind you. Anyways, with regard to the vocals, as i said they were good, the general sound and clarity, yes. HOWEVER, vocals were used too profusely throughout the album, and throughout the course of each song. The way they were arranged was a much more "poppy" style of arrangement, especially vocal arrangement. SoD on previous albums used the vocals sparingly, and that worked to their advantage because it aided the depressive atmosphere they created - in this album, there was barely a glimpse of a depressive mood. Angels of Distress was a fantastic album, SoD tackled that perfectly. They created this atmosphere of spacy depression, a kind of ethereal alternate plane of depressive existence, if you will. This album had none of that.

TOO MUCH FILLER! Goddamn those keyboards. Take it easy on the fucking filler. There was so much of that, and so little of the actual music. It is unacceptable for SoD. 5 minutes of the same goddamn key line with little variations? Come on. 2-3, maybe 3:30 min, somewhere it has to stop. It seemed like SoD was using the keys as a way to span the songs as long as or longer that 10 mins, which is unacceptable, if you are gonna go long then doom the listener with ALL the instruments for that long. Some of the key lines were good, but they would have been better if used sparingly, and interspersed with the music more. This inclusion of filler alludes to the fact that the band did not put a lot of time into this release. Another thing that alluded to that fact was the major chords. In Funeral Doom you can't have that many major chords except if you are Monolithe. SoD does not benefit from the major chords, and it hurt this album greatly. I must say also that the use of keys on this album was comparitively futile with regards to Angels of Distress and Shades Of... The keys seemed to not be cohesive for the most part with the rest of the music, as if the keys were just more filler to give some kind of back drop (like i said, easy on the filler). Speaking of keys and filler and the like, they could have taken out the instrumental for track 1.

There seemed to be little creativity with the drumming, and little with the guitars and bass. This new style of clean vocals male and female, while it didn't work with the music (at all), it was semi-creative. It seemed like they just put that there because they could do it physically, not because it worked with the mood of the song, CD, and not to mention the band. When i first heard the harmonizing on track 2, i said to myself, SoD has gone downhill, this album will be a failure. It wasn't a failure, but it wasn't great either. If the band had taken out the m/f harmony at the beginning of track 2, and had taken out the 5+ mins of key filler at the end of the song, it easily would be the best song on the cd. However, as it stands, track 6 is the best in my oppinion (the female vox worked suprisingly well there).

All in all I think that SoD is going downhill, unless their next release is fantastic. Their sound has been watered down and bastardized by their own attempt to be "diverse." In anycase, this album gets a 67 (a fairly generous rating) because of the vocals, some of the key lines (which would have been better if they weren't drawn out), the (few good) solitary guitar leads, and the fact that it is just doomy enough to pass as some sort of semblance of Funeral Doom.

DOOM OR BE DOOMED... but for fucks sake try to do both.