Monday, March 17, 2014

Shroud of Despondency-Tied to a Dying Animal


Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Shroud of Despondency have always been a hard act to wrap your head around. On one hand they are a black metal collective hell-bent on offering up some of the most extreme metal that you can find while on the other hand they have been known to flex their creatively into the realms of acoustic/melodic rock. The thing is that sometimes within the boundaries of just one simple number! So, when this apologetically unique act takes on a double album like this when, well, anything and everything can and does happen! Active since the later part of the nineties, with the two-hour "Tied to a Dying Animal" serving as their fifth full-length endeavor (with demos, splits and two live albums now filling out the rest of their back-catalog!), Shroud of Despondency tries their hand at (pretty much) two separate emotional releases. As such it might be better to look at these two albums as entirely different albums and split-up the time you listen to both (as let's admit it here folks, but two hours of music, black metal or not, can be a bit much to listen to in one setting!). For moments when you just want to witness angry, disconnected and jarring material be sure to plug yourself into the the first half of "Tied to a Dying Animal". For moments that pass by a bit more "calmer" then try the more acoustic side of this double-album. While it would seem to be an odd pairing (bleak and desperate, extreme black metal angst and then calm and collected acoustic material!) it does work...although perhaps better if taken one at a time at different moments of the same day. Otherwise a release like "Tied to a Dying Animal" might just leave you feeling lightheaded and faint! So, be warned....

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