Anyone who has ever listened to this Finnish death metal act will know just how enveloping the music is, it is truly asphyxiating and even though I have not heard the debut the previous two albums are utterly terrifying as this fourth continues the path down into the bowels of horrifying deathliness via eight sonic abominations. Comprising of a trio of artists the band has two vocalists, R.S. and M.T. the latter of whom writes the lyrics and L.L. who plays all the instruments.

I have spent many an hour listening to Desolate Shrine’s music, alone wallowing within their dark gargantuan tracks and in some respects the albums should be taken as a whole and not as a set of songs though each song is very unique in itself as the album starts with “The Primordial One”, a blasting terrorising melee that has a blackened aura with a menacing touch whereas “Lord Of The Three Realms” slows things down to a slithering crawl. The songs pulverising drum work underpins the ominous guitar hooks which have a macabre poise. “Unmask The Face Of False” is a colossal track spanning ten minutes gently building with a gradual fade in of eerie guitar before releasing a doom like pace on the guitar riffing. Adding to the atmosphere of the track some keyboards have been used which whilst not symphonic do breathe an ethos of epic into the tune right before the double bass demolition. A purposeful and portentous mood saturates this song and is a slight shift away from the style of the previous albums but no less intense.

A songs like “The Water Of Man” is a straight up death metal assault but it’s the more involved and complex compositions that grabbed my attention like “The Graeae” with its beguiling acoustic guitar and whispered vocals serenely wafting into the song before the explosion of the body of the song. That sinister atmosphere the band generates is excellent here, as the gut churning vocals punch into the song along with the writhing riffs and pummelling bass. As the track evolves a piano is heard, almost ghostly like an echo in the wind as a symphonic like aura is revealed before neatly pausing for a very calm and blissfully serene piece that links into the songs finale and a change in vocal style. “Demonic Evocation Prayer” has the best riff on the album as the song blasts into life in purist death metal fashion with acid gargling vocals and a relentless pace, though even here the song drops into a very calm section of tranquil guitar work before shifting the songs focus towards an intense and creepy guitar piece.

I could describe each song on this release, each offers something a little different to the next and like I said at the start Desolate Shrine albums should be taken as a whole listening experience rather than individual tracks and suffice to say the creative flow from the band shows absolutely no signs of decay as this is a monumental piece of deathly sonic art.

(9/10 Martin Harris)