Shores of Null plunge the emotional depths with their impressive new release Black Drapes For Tomorrow. It’s the second full length release from the Italians, following on from 2014 debut Quiescence.
Although exploring a bleak and blackened landscape, Shores of Null manage to do so while still injecting plenty of evocative rhythms and melodies. The first couple of tracks are certainly well crafted with delicious grooves that flow from your speakers, ‘Tributary Waters’ acting as a brief but stormy opener.
The full Shores of Null experience starts to work its myriad of magical lines on the dark and mysterious ‘Donau’ in which a real sense of foreboding stirs ominously almost like the black clouds gathering before the storm erupts. For outright fragility and vulnerability ‘Tide Against Us’ takes some beating.
The dual vocal approach is used to devastating affect and after the initial heart-wrenching harmonies a much more visceral edge emerges with deepened growls adding a darker layer to the sonic script. Main singing duties fall to Davide Straccione who has a great vocal reach and can also flick the switch between great chorus singing interspersed with some cheesegrater growls.
The grandeur behind much of Shores of Null’s output matches Fleshgod Apocalypse on songs like ‘House Of Cries’, so it comes as no surprise to see that this album has been skilfully handled by Marco Mastrobuono who has previously produced the fellow Italians.
However while Fleshgod Apocalypse can never be accused of being underdressed on stage in their flamboyant Victorian shirts and coats, Shores of Null are content to leave the dressing up to others and focus all their energies into making music.
The album’s title track is another sweeping symphony with a sound big enough to fill a cathedral. The cleanly picked instrumental diversion ‘The Enemy Within’ is far less obtrusive, introspective soulful grooves echoing around an empty chamber.
The mournful ambience extends initially into ‘Carry On, My Tiny Hope’ before an upsurge in tempo creates the kind of charge that will have every head nodding and fist pumping in the pit. Speaking of live shows, Shores of Null will be touring this album across Europe sharing stages with the likes of Isole, Hooded Menace and Mourning Beloveth.
‘We Ain’t Ashes’ begins with a fairly low key mournful mood before the Romans unshackle their armour and start to stir up colossal riffs in gladiatorial fashion and this buccaneering confidence is carried into ‘A Thousand Storms’ until the waves slowly start to relent.
A couple of the earlier tracks on Black Drapes seem to come to an emergency stop ending which is a shame as when the Italians allow their interesting soundscapes to ebb and flow there’s a melancholic majesty about them that is very uplifting. Album closer ‘Death of a River’ is a gently flowing instrumental that guides the album to a soothing and soulful finish.
In their more inward looking passages Shores of Null draw comparisons with the likes of Katatonia which is certainly no bad thing in my book. While they’ve created a clearly downbeat album that isn’t to suggest that the rhythms themselves lack interest or fall flat. That’s not the case. Because while the lows will have you fumbling around in the dirt the more benevolent higher moments scrape the peaks and as such Shores of Null have acquitted themselves very well on their sophomore album.