This carefully crafted album by Italian band In My Shiver is a dark affair. I’m tempted to call it “gothic” and reckon I could justify that on the basis that it is gloomy and atmospheric. It’s heavier and occasionally lighter than a gloomfest. The ring of “Delicate Poison” is that of Katatonia, with stylistic reminders of Solefald and a host of Finnish dark metal bands.
I liked the shadowy beginning with its thumping heartbeat in the background. As the album goes on, the heaviness and intensity increase. “Claustrophobic” is a word used in the accompanying blurb. Along with that, ferocity meets depression head-on over the course of these six long and weighty tracks. The highlight for me without doubt was the first track “Closed View”. Lingering, haunting atmospheres prevail amid despairing vocals and heaviness. It’s as if the mists surround this track, which is shadowy and cleverly drops into subtle shades. “False”, which follows, also has interesting touches but it is more monotone. I was not so keen on the pagan-style vocals which enter the dark story at one point. In My Shiver excel when they linger. This happens on “Liquid Hour”, where during two changes of mood they create a lingering melancholy. This improved the track which centres around a steady grey soundscape supported by hissing urgency from the vocalist.
By “Into the Gray Line” I sensed that everything was descending into the depths of depression. This track is heavy and powerful without ever threatening to be epic. In fact I’d say it sounds repressed and that doesn’t make it very interesting. “Drain” has a more colourful and even uplifting riff but it gets overtaken by a rather bland and soulless heavy progression. So it goes on. This enigmatic album closes with “Empty Wealth”, a track which seems to want to drown in a sea of greyness again. The most interesting part is the end where it’s as if a sordid world is being captured in a freeze frame.
I had rather hoped to get more out of this so-called “shoegaze metal” but to be honest I found it difficult. It’s altogether better when In My Shiver break out of their shell, slow it down and indulge us in layers of moods and sounds. At these moments I felt imagination. Otherwise I felt the impact of grey heaviness and that didn’t do a lot for me.
(6/10 Andrew Doherty)