Black metallers Pestilential Shadows have been lurking in the Australian scene since 2003 and Depths is their fourth album and will be released in a Deluxe Digipack Edition with a 12-page booklet limited To 500 Copies. The tracks are as black as the best of the genre with atmospheric nuances interspersed throughout that fuel the bleak aesthetic. Distorted and melodic guitar lines, extended atmospheric passages, tormented vocals, and a raw sound means Depths is wave on wave of pure tragedy, at once both depressive and intense.
Opener 'Lost Geists Of The Sunlight Sphere' is trance-inducing, hypnotic almost, to the point of commanding a powerful hold over the listener. Between the rapid riffing and melodic guitar lines that begin and end the track is a vast, atmospheric passage of guitar arpeggios and sprawling chords and a haunting vocal. 'Tribulations of Man' is mid-paced and doom-laden track that embraces the dirge tempo to torturous effect. 'Choirs Beyond The Blackened Stars' shifts the pace back up for rabid repeated chords with a haunted vocal shimmering in the darkness, the track's power coming from that incessant repetition. The ravaging 'Architects of the Spear' has another moody mid-passage as powerfully and painfully evocative as the wall-of-fire riffing and nails-in-the-face drumming. The intro to 'Shrine' is an ambient piece that stands out in stark contrast to what has been heard hitherto as it is calm, serene, and tranquil, an oasis in the black-sand wasteland. BM wrath erupts out of the relative warmth for more hypnotic riffing and haunting and pained vocals that continue into 'Poisoner'. The acoustic intro to 'Putrid Earth' is magnificent and, at thirty seconds, too short. The closing title track ticks all of the boxes that a title track should and throws in plenty of surprises. Here, Pestilential Shadows shift the album up a few gears by combining the strengths displayed in the previous seven tracks. It's darkly ambient and bleakly atmospheric; there are wall-of-fire riffs that are as ravaging as they are monstrous; and the solid structure and the shift in dynamics is mightily impressive.
The melodic guitars make Depths a little more palatable for those that otherwise may not as freely wander into the blackened landscape of the genre. The raw production, the layers built into the tracks, the heavy atmosphere, and the tormented, pained vocals make Depths both a great BM album and something distinctly unique.
- Lost Geists Of The Sunlight Sphere
- Tribulations Of Man
- Choirs Beyond The Blackened Stars
- Architects Of The Spear
- Putrid Earth