ShoresThere are an awful lot of creative, inventive bands coming out of Italy these days. Chances are there always was, but the rest of the world knew nothing about it until fairly recently (or maybe I am just old and behind the times). One such band is Shores of Null, a new project put together by Roman scene veterans from various bands, including Zippo and Noumeno. Shores of Null aim to explore the `darker side of metal music’, and with this highly polished album they certainly seem to have achieved just that.

There is quite a mix of dark, doomy influences present on this well-executed opus – I can hear hints of all sorts of other, more well known Doom acts here, but it all blends together into a unique style which belongs only to Shores of Null. The band’s music is massive and heavy as you would expect from a doom outfit, but there is much more to it than that. There are hints of melodic black metal, which work really well with Shores of Null’s expansive, multi-layered style. Their music is like an onion (and by that I don’t mean it stinks, although it might make you cry if you were feeling sad enough), there are masses of layers to it.

Melodic, yet melancholic single note riffs and melodies drift into each other, juxtaposed with heavy, crushing chords. It reminds me a little of While Heaven Wept, yet somehow heavier and darker. There is quite a progressive streak here too, lengthy songs and twisting, surprising tempos are the order of the day, and there is more than a dash of experimental, slightly jarring post-metal in the mix.  Another thing that makes this band  standout is the use of lush vocal harmonies scattered throughout – it really adds an extra dimension to the already vast, epic music. Combined with some convincingly grisly death growls, you’ve almost got the complete doom package – death/doom meets epic doom meets progressive doom meets gothic doom. They really cram it all in, and amazingly it works really well.

In my opinion this is a great, vast, epic doom album – quite unique and very creative. Shores of Null have definitely succeeded in exploring the darker side of metal, and have in the process created a great, overwhelming and heavy sound full of melody, yet tinged with sadness. It is progressive, massive, beautiful in its own way and I highly recommend it.

(8.5/10 Jon Butlin)