SHROUD OF DESPONDENCY - Objective:Isolation CD
Genre: Black Metal
Back in February, better known as Black Metal History Month, this Milwaukee, WI overly progressive black metal act released their Dark Meditations In Monastic Seclusion full length. It garnered some good reactions from critics as well as fans looking for something interesting within the genre. Seeing their ball rolling the band's guitarist and mainman, Rory Heikkila, decided to release this which is material he recorded back in 2009 but shelved for various reasons. On here he's responsible for guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals and drum programming. After he stopped working on this is when he met the other musicians who would become full fledged SHROUD OF DESPONDENCY band members and go onto record Dark Meditations In Monastic Seclusion. I believe there's some irony with in the album title and the story after it's shelving but I'll digress. After a few listens to Objective:Isolation I believe Heikkila's decision to release it as it is now was a huge mistake. He would have been better off re-recording the material with his present line-up, making a few changes and then releasing it as all new.
The bulk of this is melodic black metal treated with modern style progressive elements some of which work out well but there are obvious problems. Opener "An Opposing Shore" showcases the progressive/melodic marriage perfectly with the extended keyboard ending unfortunately it's not the only cut that ends with one. "This Transcends Belief" and "A Life Well Lived" push the envelope on the technical side, unfortunately they drag on too long. Also both cuts suffer with spoken word audio samples which sound out of place as if someone who thinks they're edgy threw them in. "Struggling With The Current" is one of the better cuts on here. It opens with pure venomous blackened hate then midway through turns into territory treaded by ENSLAVED. "Wound" is a out of place type of cut. Starting off as something a more avant garde progressive guitarist would have on a solo instrumental record but it ends with harsh blackened growls and screams. "My Carrion" and "Silence After The Downfall" both standout on here especially the latter's acoustic opening that bleeds into the more electric then finally closing down the release in a blackened melancholic overtone.