Desolate Shrine
The Heart of the Netherworld

In 2011 Finland’s Desolate Shrine released their debut album, Tenebrous Towers.  To this day I still feel this is their best work.  It could be partly due to the song “The Brightest Night”, which for me, is not only their finest song ever, but one of the best death metal songs, that has come out of Finland, as well as the world.  A year later the band would release The Sanctum of Human Darkness.  The album was dark, sinister and I played the hell out of it.  I put up window blinds in all my upstairs rooms, in my house, and this and the Maveth debut album was all I listened to non-stop.  Fast forward a few years later and Desolate Shrine have unleashed a truly dangerous third album, The Heart of the Netherworld.  For one we see a familiar and evil conceptual album cover, to that of their second album, must be the same artist, I don’t yet have the physical cd copy, I’ll have it bought, by the time this review comes out.

Regardless, the production on this is more powerful than the second album.  The drums sounding quite monstrous on this album, I might add.  Also the instruments and vocals are more defined on this.  I thought the second album had a bit muddier production, so I very much prefer this production to that one.  Also the songs are getting even lengthier this time around.  Desolate Shrine have always written long songs, but now this album clocks in at over 60 minutes.  So much like Lie in Ruins, second super long album in 2014, this one packs in a lot of music for your well earned money and it’s worth it, as was the Lie in Ruins, monster album last year.  “For the Devil and his Angels” begins the album, and it’s a well done instrumental to let you know Desolate Shrine are back and are here to destroy your soul.  The tempo shifts are nice and eventually after four and a half minutes they hit you over the head with “Black Fires of God”. This Song begins with some nice doomy heaviness before erupting into a mid-paced rumbling steamroller tank like heaviness.  Track picks up pace and then goes back into a doomy heaviness at the 1.30 mark, with some outstanding double bass drums.  Vocals are killer, ranging from their mix of raspy and low gravelly vocals that sound like they were recorded in a cavern.  At the 4.40 mark the band kicks into high blasting territory where the song later on meanders towards a very evil sounding guitar melody ending.

I’ll make this review a little quicker, just so you can go out and order this quickly.  Album ends with the 13 minute title track.  Tune rips into an immediate blast beat, before slowing down a little bit and the vocals are just haunting.  Truly some of the most evil sounding vocals around, and coupled with the eerie guitar melodies, with some black metal influence, you realize Desolate Shrine understands the true essence of atmosphere.  The 2 minute mark is doomy epic heaviness with some fabulous drum fills and that frickin guitar tone-hot damn, it destroys.  The song eventually ends with a calm serene acoustic part where you will be left with your mouth wide open as to realizing you heard an album that is close to topping their debut.  Desolate Shrine are one of the best death metal bands out there and they understand heavy, atmospheric and brutal music.  The songs are never boring and Dark Descent Records has put out yet another monstrous release, to start off 2015.  Desolate Shrine should be really proud of The Heart of the Netherworld; they are one of the best death metal bands out there, and they are original and terrific.  Original bands are tougher to come by all the time. On all three of their albums, Desolate Shrine have truly defined a sound that is all their own-in the world of music folks, I care not what genre; this is an accomplishment.   Buy or Die!!!!!!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
January 26th, 2015


  1. Commented by: j.d.

    Awesome just like their last

  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    For some reason this isnt grabbing me like the last one. I need to listen more i guess

  3. Commented by: F.Rini

    i.d.-thanks for reading. Erik-you know sometimes with bands with the dense, cavernous sounds it takes a little more getting used to. An hour’s worth of such music can be a daunting listen as well. I love this latest to death!

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