Shattered Hope - _Waters of Lethe_
(Solitude Productions, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
Now, that's more like it! Quantum leaping from the band's pedestrian and extremely uninspired _Absence_ from 2010, to this monumental release four years later, Shattered Hope's latest gives you the impression you're listening to an altogether different band. Greek ensemble Shattered Hope most likely have learned their lesson well, mending their mistakes and polishing their compositional abilities to the maximum, and now, equipped with a new-ish sound and a far better sense of song writing etiquette, they have unleashed their _Waters of Lethe_ upon mankind, poised to strike and harm everyone and everything crossing its path.

Venturing deeper into the slower and darker niches of doom / death metal, flirting now more than ever before with funeral doom, Shattered Hope present a massive album with a colossal, all-encompassing sound and horror-laden tunes, that may not be, in themselves, the most original of the lot, but they do, however, posses the essence from which darkness and nightmares are made.

Listening to _Waters of Lethe_ is like staring at a legendary beast where every faculty in its bizarre morphology has been magnified and amplified. Everything has been taken to the extreme here: the drums are tremendously powerful yet sparse, the guitars are clinical and gigantic, the keyboard lines sinister and searing and the vocalist presents the most convincing set of growls you will ever hear.

The general aesthetics, given the sheer power and outstanding ability to shatter, or at least crack the very fabric of existence, could be attributed to the death metal school of the darkest and slowest kind. The quasi-symphonic ethereal keyboards, manifesting themselves somewhere in the center, between the rear and the front of the mix -- never too prevalent or intrusive -- are the only factor found within the recording that adds a certain spiritual, blissful and even semi-romantic flavor to the music, without which all we are left with is an incessant barrage of megalithic sound waves having the sonic energy to move mountains and crush bones -- human bones.

The eighty minutes of this recording, divided into six long tracks, don't show even a single weak moment; there is enough variation and dynamics within each track to keep the listener interested in what's coming next, each moment is a revelation, a tour-de-force of horror and tragedy exercised and manipulated by omnipotent metal paradigms and a massive production to match, enabling a crystal clear recording and a sound so crisp and vibrant, it will make the hairs at the back of your neck raise in awe.

If you happen to like the excellent death-oriented sonic expressions embodied by doom monster albums such as Mare Infinitum's _Sea of Infinity_, Septic Mind's _The Beginning_, Mental Torment's _On the Verge_, or any kind of megalithic expression in the funeral-esque doom / death metal niche being at the very highest order of the food chain, coupled with the best production money can buy, do yourself a favor and take _Waters of Lethe_ for a ride -- it has got some sights to show you.

"Here's to Death!"...

Contact: http://solitude-prod.com/

(article published 7/7/2014)


ALBUMS
9/30/2011 C Drishner 5 Shattered Hope - Absence
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