Shroud Of Despondency – Befouled By The Sacred: Love Is A Callous (2019)

Befouled By The Sacred: Love Is A Callous is a completely different kind of album. I say that, because opener “A Callous Distance” is a death/doom track replete with gothic organs. That mood changes with “Aphotic Conditions” as blaring death metal slowly mixes in with tiny bits of piano and some symphonic effects. This album is more groove-influenced and feels a bit more punishing than Cull, but that makes sense as they are two completely different sides of the band. However, I’m feeling classic death metal here and I’m almost apt to dig that a bit more as I will admittedly say that I’ve been burned out on black metal over the years. The next couple of tracks seem like a mix of black and death, though death is more prominent.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed album this album is that with the lengthier cuts like “Abundant and Nullified” and “The Metamorphosis” is that closer to the end of these pieces, the mood changes and either offers more guitar acrobatics or utilizes a piano. Both songs start out relatively heavy, but they change course a bit further down the road and that’s fine. However, the most interesting use of atmosphere here would be on the finale, “Cracked Hull” where I would consider the fact that every possible facet available to Shroud was utilized. There’s a little bit of everything there and it’s a wonderful closing note to the performance.

Purchase (Bandcamp)

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