Shattered Hope – Vespers

Shattered Hope are no strangers to funeral doom with touches of death metal, but on their third full length effort “Verspers,” it feels they’ve lost their way a bit. Their debut back in 2010 was a crushingly melancholic effort that was gorgeous and haunting, and their second effort was pretty close, but here it feels they’ve stumbled a little. Maybe it is the lack of atmosphere and the crushing, but with the opening ‘In Cold Blood’ these Greeks seem to have gone more of the traditional death doom route. The crushing riffs are still there with the backing choir like keyboards, but the rather plodding pace with short riffs make it feel more like a cleaner slow paced Dismember track than the Shattered Hope many know. The vocals are evil and just as haunting still, which is great, but sound more pushed into the back so they are harder to hear. There is also more use of clean singing on a track like the title track but for some reason the mournful wails seem to clash with the overall atmosphere versus the spoken word tones on some of the other tracks or what they have done in the past.

It isn’t until ‘Συριγμός’ till things get back on track for those who know Shattered Hope. The guitars finally find their right level of mournful while keeping up with the epic pace and only repeat for a few seconds versus what feels like an entire minute. The harsh vocals are more prominent and pushed up into the mix and when layered with the haunting echos of the cleans, the entire atmosphere of funeral doom is back. Gone is the whiny gothic doom that sounds like the worse parts of My Dying Bride that were heard on ‘Verge.’ Although they come back a bit on the closing ‘Judas Tree,’ somehow with the guitar tones and pace they seem to work much better versus the faster death doom pace. The other more spoken and softer clean vocals are here too along with the plodding drums so there is a whole lot going on here, making it one of the top choices of tracks for the album.

Like most funeral doom albums, “Vespers” lacks a large number of tracks, but makes up for it with epics. Not one song is shorter than 10 minutes, so those who are not a fan of doom that feels like it drags one down forever may not quite enjoy this, but for those who like long melancholies will feel right at home. Ultimately, the last 3 tracks are probably the most worth hearing to really get the experience of Shattered Hope at their best. The first two tracks, while faster and heavier in a different way, just don’t really feel like the group with what they’ve laid down so far in the past. The funeral doom side of things mixed with a little gothic doom atmosphere serves them much better than the death doom side.

3 / 5 STARS 

Reviewer: Colin McNamara

Nov 23, 2020

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Shattered Hope – Vespers

review Shattered Hope - Vespers

1. In Cold Blood
2. Verge
3. Συριγμός
4. Towards The Land Of Deception
5. The Judas Tree


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