Shape of Despair

Angels of Distress

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With just five songs listed on the packaging, one would naturally assume that Angels of Distress is an EP, but it is in fact an hour-long affair, containing extended musical suites far exceeding conventional song lengths. An ambitious, epic work of avant-garde doom metal, the album effectively crowns this group of Finnish manic-depressives as the absolute kings of dreary, gut-churning heaviness. Opeth-sized movements like the title track and "Night's Dew" frame their heavy metal guitars and death grunts with angelic female voices and oft times overbearing string and synthesizer orchestrations. It doesn't always come together seamlessly, but you have to admire the band for their creative reach. Quite honestly (and this is meant as the highest praise), this material truly is misery personified, the 17-minute "...To Live for My Death..." alone guaranteeing suicidal intentions for all. To the unprepared, Angels of Distress will likely prove unbearably sloth-ish and bleak, but, if uncompromising yet adventurous doom metal is your cup of tea, welcome to your personal nirvana.

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