If the legendary swansong, a majestic bird’s final dying cry of despair, pain,sorrow and yet a celebration of beauty and life has ever found a musical equivalent, ‘Monotony Fields’ has to be counted among the closest contenders. SHAPE OF DESPAIR return to teach a magnificent lecture in melancholy with their fourth full-length. The Finns have taken their sweet time to create this masterpiece – worthy of their supinely paced genre, which can best be described as a carefully crafted balancing act between atmospheric and funeral doom.
Nearly eleven years have passed since SHAPE OF DESPAIR released their acclaimed previous album ‘Illusion’s Play’ (2004). This hiatus was only briefly interrupted by the ‘Written in My Scars’ EP in 2010 and a split 7” with BEFORE THE RAIN the following year, as strong reminders of the band’s effusive talent.SHAPE OF DESPAIR was founded by Jarno Salomaa and Tomi Ullgren after the demise of their death metal band in 1995. The two guitarists were aiming for a darker and more serene sound. Debut album ‘Shades of…’ (2000) proved an instant success, garnering much praise from critics and fans alike.
The quickly following ‘Angels of Distress’ (2001) is still regarded as a milestone of doom metal. Having added the corrosive and grinding vocals of Henri Koivula, which contrast perfectly with Natalie Koskinen’s aerial female voice, SHAPE OF DESPAIR now return to reclaim the throne of funeral doom with an album that exceeds each and every high expectation their eagerly waiting fan-base has heaped upon them during their long years of absence. ‘Monotony Fields’ is bound to storm the end of the year lists and still manages to appeal beyond any boundaries inflicted by its genre. Lean back and let misery and suffering magically transform into pure pleasure and great joy!
Henri Koivula: vocals
Natalie Koskinen: vocals
Jarno Salomaa: guitars, keyboard
Tomi Ullgren: guitars
Sami Uusitalo: bass
Samu Ruotsalainen: drums