Shores of Null – Black Drapes for Tomorrow (Spinefarm/Candlelight)Tuesday, 11th April 2017
As a fresh act that comes out of the middle of nowhere and hits a sound that’s both unique and fascinating on your debut, where do you go from there? A question that had to plague the minds of the Italian doom/death band Shores of Null. Such a captivating approach filled their 2014 debut Quiescence, and as such was lauded by a good chunk of DR’s staff. Black Drapes for Tomorrow manages to reach the high bar set by their debut.
When you hit a formula that’s undeniably your own, there’s no need to abandon it just for the sake of “advancement.” Instead Shores of Null do the logical thing and simply fine-tune what worked for Quiescence and take it to the next level. The band’s blend of doom, death, black, rock, and beyond still completely engrossing upon the second that “Donau” hits the starting line. That yearning and melancholic vibe stays strong, while maintaining an absurdly catchy feeling with each track. Penultimate song, “The Kolyma Route” personifies this entirely, with some immediately hook-y riffs opening things up but gradually integrates a more sorrow-filled feeling in the later half and comes to a gloomy finale. Some tweaking to the formula allows for some heavier moments, like some deathly segments of “We Ain’t Ashes” or more black-ish vibes of “House of Cries.” Regardless of the components that make up a track, the songwriting gives it a sleek melodic sensibility that is both immediate with hooks but long-lasting in depth. The importance of vocalist David Straccione can’t be understated either, particularly his unique clean vocal delivery (still with a tinge of Layne Staley) elevating tracks like “Carry On, My Tiny Hope” to an entirely new playing field with his charisma and conviction.
Is Shores of Null one of the more underappreciated gems within the current metal scene? Probably, but with two excellent full-length albums to their name, one hopes that their status is soon elevated. Those who enjoy both melancholy and grandeur in their metal need only hear Black Drapes for Tomorrow once to be convinced of its worth. An emotive and adrenaline-filled journey and one of 2017’s greatest treats so far.