SHROUD OF DESPONDENCY
'Dark Meditations In Monastic Seclusion'
Shroud have released nothing for the last six years. Now suddenly they release two new full length albums as well as a live album. When the inspiration comes, and the iron is hot you have to strike I suppose. The album opens with a lengthy acoustic track and some sparse, weak and cleanly sung vocals in the final minute. However do not be tricked into thinking this is a stripped down folk album throughout or something of that nature. The first track is quickly followed up by a dirty and dark metal style played at a brisk pace with shouted/growled vocals and a nice guitar solo or two. I like the obscure and organic sound to the guitars on this record. The song 'Parting Of The Way' is interesting, it is some guy telling about how he felt isolated, had his final walk and cigar. Then went home and attempted suicide in the Dr. Kevorkian fashion, but at the very last second as he was drifting off his hand (he makes it sound like it had a mind of its own) pulled the plastic bag filled with gas off his head. It is quite creepy and poignant and a little depressing. An apt description that could probably be applied to this album as a whole. 'Dark Meditations...' is probably going to be an acquired taste for some, it is an emotional journey that can come across as a little unconventional at times. I personally found it to be worth the patience required to explore this well crafted album.