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Shroud of Satan > Litany to the Moon > Reviews
Shroud of Satan - Litany to the Moon

I can't believe this doesn't suck. - 78%

aethereal, May 31st, 2013

Shroud of Satan is a black metal band hailing from Germany, and that's literally all I know about them. I hadn't even heard of them prior to a friend of mine handing me a burnt CD-R copy of Litany to the Moon. "Here. These guys are black metal. You might like them. I don't." When I got home, I decided to do a little research prior to listening to the EP. The only information about them, that I could find, is located on their record label (Sol Records) page. There's no line-up information; there's no back-story; there's literally nothing except a picture of the black metal duo and a description reading, and I copy & paste, "fast and agressive black metal, nothing more to say." Great. I have an EP from a band with no back story on a label that currently dons 4 bands that I've never heard of. Any hope I had for this band was gone. More often than not, unknown bands on unknown labels are nothing more than shitty bedroom recordings by would-be black metallers. I slipped the CD into my PC and reluctantly pressed play, preparing myself for the "black metal" shitstorm that I was so confidently expecting...

The EP opens with what I'm assuming is a movie excerpt. It's a pretty typical "hail Satan" sermon spoken by a woman, over top of a spooky church organ track. All in all, it's a bit cheesy; however, when the music kicks in, I found myself sitting here like, "Wait... What?" Shroud of Satan plays a rather standard class of mid-tempo black metal. Like promised, it's fast. It's aggressive. It's even, dare I say, somewhat melodic at times. Don't let that be off-putting, however. The melodies still retain that raw, aggressive feel. There's no Dimmu Borgir keyboards here. In fact, other than the spoken intro, the only track that contains keyboards is the title track. Even then, they're used very, very sparingly and contribute nothing more than a subtle backing texture. A nice touch, in my opinion. The vocalist has a fairly standard mid-range scream reminiscent of older-era Ragnarok, and they're very well done. He stays pretty consistent in terms of his vocal range, never really branching out... Not necessarily a band thing, considering the short length of the EP. I can't really touch on the lyrics much, considering I only own a CD-R copy of the disc, and there's no lyrics to speak of on the band's page. The guitars are, again, pretty standard. They have a nice tone, keeping everything clear and audible. Lots of tremolo picked sections, lots of power chords, etc. Though, while being fairly generic in make-up, the riffs are nicely composed and do well to keep the listener interested. They do an exceptional job of incorporating melody into their riffs without losing their aggression or "raw status." The drums are a bit lacking at times. They're performed competently, but they don't offer a whole lot. Lots of mid-tempo blasts and generic fills. Nothing overly special to speak of here. Moving on.

What surprised me the most about this album, besides the fact that it didn't suck, is the production. Everything is crystal clear without being too pristine. It's still slightly gritty and dirty, much like black metal albums should be. But, at no point does one instrument overpower another. Everything stands out on its own, which really refreshing. The bass is a little low in the mix, but if you listen closely, it's there. That's not too big of an issue, seeing as the bass doesn't do much more than follow the guitar. Litany to the Moon is just an overall nicely produced and mixed release.

Litany to the Moon has definitely surprised me. With every fiber of my being, I thought this EP was going to suck... While it's not a groundbreaking release, it's refreshing to know that there are still bands out there that take a rather generic approach to black metal, but perform it this well. It's fast. It's angry. It's melodic and memorable. Above all, it's enjoyable. Not a mandatory listen, but definitely something I'd recommend. 7.8/10.