Doom bands seem to have this strange habit of putting out the exact music you need, at the exact right time, for whatever life is currently throwing your way. Just like Officium Triste in 2019, and then My Dying Bride & Paradise Lost in 2020; Greece’s Shattered Hope have come to help humanity cope with the change and uncertainty of 2021, by delivering to us their latest album, “Vespers.“ And it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.
I think most of us are starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, yet the toll 2020 has taken on us is still omnipresent. People are tired, burned out. This is the backdrop to the soundtrack that is “Vespers.” And to that end, Shattered Hope have created an album that is a more energetic affair than Officium Triste’s “Death of Gaia,” but also deals in less conventional song structures than the Paradise Lost’s of the world. Sometimes, there is a band, they are the band for their time and place; much like Chicago’s Afterproject in the early 2000’s.
The band also doesn’t quite wallow in misery the way My Dying Bride does, though they have plenty of it to offer, Shattered Hope takes a varied approach to their songwriting that keeps things exciting. “In Cold Blood” is anchored by an absolute jackhammer riff, spliced with slow doom brimming with atmosphere. “Verge” has a vibe that is reminiscent of mid-90’s space rock ala Hum, although with the doom quotient turned up to 11. The slow middle section of “Verge” features a clean singing vocal style that harkens back to Ville Toumi’s performance on the Amorphis masterpiece “Tales from the Thousand Lakes”. The next track, the aptly titled “Συριγμός,” is a slow as molasses jam that transports the listener to somewhere otherworldly. “Towards the Land of Deception” is the one song most evocative of My Dying Bride, featuring wonderful use of violin, and deep bellowing growls from vocalist Nick.
While “Vespers” may only contain 5 songs, each one clocks in well over 10 minutes long, so there is more than enough music here to get you through these turbulent times. And that is what Doom is all about, getting through the tough times. As I mentioned before, sometimes there is a band, they are the band for their time and place, and they fit right in there. And that is Shattered Hope.