Source of Deep Shadows - _Fading Emptiness_
(Redrum666, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (7.5 out of 10)
We Children of Darkness can be exceedingly hard to please sometimes. Most nonbelievers scoff at our apparent eagerness to soak up every scum-caked chord put to tape, not understanding that once the filthy buzzing starts, our standards for the direction that noise takes can be pretty damn exacting. Funeral doom's glittering razor might cut the finest line between "love it" and "heard it". The style mandates sloth: any band revving the engine too frequently sacrifices depressive atmosphere, but refusing to put pressure on the pedal once in a while betrays a lack of imagination. Ditto the crushing riffage and chain-smoking-gorilla vocals. We crave and scorn genre trappings in equal measure. We're fickle. Deal with it.

Source of Deep Shadows know how to dish out their servings in all the right portions. These light-hating Poles devastate with elephantine weight without ever letting the shred meter dip too close to zero. Nearly every track harbors a moment of death-fueled abandon -- hell, "Primordial Fears" quite simply freaks the fuck out after 45 seconds, and the slowniks had better hang on tight or get off the ride. Every somber crawl retains a modicum of motion throughout, whether in the belligerent bass lines, high hat taps, or the various guitar personalities squealing and chugging through these eight morose but concise meditations. That's right, concise: nothing here so much as peeks at the seven-minute mark, which is good news for anyone who likes a good monolithic dirge but prefers not to take half a day of sick leave just to hear one.

Some listeners may nitpick that the atmosphere on _Fading Emptiness_ is somewhat less oppressive than similar fare by German (Ahab) and British (Esoteric) counterparts, due mostly to less thick recording and production. And while it's pleasant enough, the intro track would benefit from having a couple siblings deeper in the album; without some companions to clarify its importance, it's just one more obstacle between the doom-lover's need and the fix. But album closer "Only Dust" pays for all by being the best Jesu song Justin Broadrick never wrote. Its star-gazing major chords prompt this writer to wonder if the band's naming choices contain deliberate double meaning. After all, the true source of deep shadows is intense sunlight, and if the emptiness is fading, then we must be filling with something.


(article published 23/7/2011)

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