Have you ever wondered what it might sound like if Alice in Chains played doom metal with a splash of progressive black metal? Me neither, but then I came across Italian band Shores of Null and their first album, “Quiescence.”
Most weeks on Monday night I will pull up a list of the new releases coming out on Tuesday and see if there is anything that looks interesting that I haven’t heard yet. Usually there are a bunch of releases that are fairly underwhelming, but when I see a band I haven’t heard before I’ll copy and paste their name and album into YouTube and see if I can hear anything from the album. Nine out of ten times I listen to a few seconds and move on to something else. That one time out of ten, though, that’s where I find something that requires further investigation. People sometimes ask me how I come up with all these great obscure bands. Well, that’s my method right there: listen to a ton of bands and eventually you come across gold.
Upon hearing the vocals I was immediately intrigued by Shores of Null. The clean vocals frequently use a harmony just so reminiscent of Alice in Chains that it is impossible to ignore. I expect that the singer isn’t actively going for the Alice in Chains sound, but still, it is hard to miss.
At this point I could have just dismissed the band as derivative and moved on, but I continued to listen. Once I’d gotten over the novelty of the clean vocals I began to focus on the music. Sometimes it comes across as thick and melancholy doom, but then it will suddenly kick up the tempo and lean towards a very progressive interpretation of black metal. The vocals never venture into black metal territory, but they do head into some seriously cool death doom harshness.
Trying to categorize Shores of Null is both deceptively easy and frustratingly difficult. It is fairly simple to dissect the songs and file away the various pieces into their respective genre categories, but as a whole “Quiescence” is a bit more complicated to compare to other albums. I honestly cannot think of a suitable album to use for comparison. This album is like a rare genetic aberration; it stands alone. Sometimes bands try to throw in too many ingredients in an effort to be different and they spoil the soup, but these songs flow so seamlessly and naturally that I would not make that accusation with Shores of Null.
I first heard “Quiescence” a little over a week ago, and while I’ve listened to some other albums in that time, time and again I keep coming back to Shores of Null. The more I listen to this album, the more firmly ensconced becomes my opinion that this is a really great release. The fact that this is the band’s first album only magnifies my respect for what they have achieved here. Will this be one of my top albums for this year? It sure is starting to look that way.
Check out the killer track “Kings of Null” below.