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Shallow Waters - Bed of Snakes Award winner

Shallow Waters
Bed of Snakes
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 August 2020, 4:11 AM

As a reviewer, sometimes I listen to an album a lot because of its length'– the music inside is so long winded, it requires at least a few listens just to finish it. Other times, the depth of an album, what the songs contain within, is so deep that it demands extra attention to fully absorb it. Still other times, the album is a grower and I play it over and over and take it piece by piece as my feelings towards the music changes.

But on occasion I listen to an album is out of pure enjoyment and love.  That is the situation I found myself in with SHALLOW WATERS’s “Bed of Snakes.”  And I love this album. I jammed this many times over just because it's that damn good and a pleasure to listen to. There is just so much here to be exited over that I wasn't even sure where to start my review. I suppose I'll start with an introduction.

SHALLOW WATERS is a new band from Spain formed just two years ago in 2018. They have independently released this album, "Bed of Snakes," which is also their first release! For a band this young to put out such a high quality full length debut is stupendous achievement that shouldn't go unnoticed. “Bed of Snakes,” isn’t just ear candy though.  It indeed contains depth and demands your attention.  It grows on you in that starts out already great and just gets better.

SHALLOW WATERS has infused every second of music with a doom atmosphere of depression, isolation, futility, and straight up sadness.  The black metal aspect of their sound comes through equally potent but brings with it desperation, anger, and anguish.  The two genres are bridged together by post elements in the form of dim melodies, layered soundscapes and guitar solos that are more like living monoliths of emotion than anything else.

The first track, “Approaching The Unknown,” burns with white hot rage caused by the friction between the guitars and bass.  A harrowing scream cuts through the middle of it while the drums attack with the subtlety of a marching army.  Broken melodies scatter across the landscape while this unstoppable beast of a song continues to devour all light in its path.  The last couple minute meld the lead and rhythm guitars together in a deadly dance of melancholic melody. The following track, “Blended In The Urn,” continues the musical theme of just starting out with a bang, something I appreciated since so many doom and post bands thrive on the build up.  There isn’t anything wrong with that, and I actually crave music like that, but the approach that SHALLOW WATER takes is perfect for their shorter (for doom anyway) song lengths as the songs build up as they push forward, not need any intros but instead treating the whole track like the entire journey.

This track introduces the clean vocals and they are as wonderful and effective as the screams/growls.  They kind of remind me of SEPTICFLESH’s cleans, in that they are weirdly pitched and sound a bit insane.  On top of that, they are emotive and powerful, always finding the perfect place within the songs to be displayed. The title track, “Bed Of Snakes,” is as bleak as a funeral but as searing as flame.  This particular song spends most of its time as black metal but with those post atmospheres making everything large in scope while still keeping it a rather focused and biting track.   The middle portion of the song is more doom metal oriented, lush leads working over atop clean guitar with the bass digging in deep for planet heavy fuzz.  The ending passage is laced with clean vocals that are catchy as hell too.

Banished Endeavors,” is one of the album’s best tracks and that is saying something because there isn’t a bad one on the album.  The beginning guitar solos and melodies are surprisingly majestic for this style and manage to be a nice counter balance to the pain drenched blackened vocals.  The feelings that permeate this song hang over you like a cloud, one in which you are absorbed into as the rain finds its way back into the air.

The final track, “Outward Journey,” is a cryptic audio adventure that is laced with clean vocals for the song’s burgeoning moments.   There is a low key build up throughout the song, complicated emotions just beginning to boil under the service. That final scream, that rests just on the front of a melodic sonic attack, sent chills up my spine every time I heard it. SHALLOW WATERS have crafted a truly special album with “Bed of Snakes,” and an unforgettable journey that I will not likely forget for years to come.  They have raised the bar impossibly high for themselves considering their first album is this good but I think they have it in them to continuously amaze.  I’m definitely looking forward to their journey in doing so.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship:10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Approaching The Unknown
2. Blended in the Urn
3. The Tears I’ve Shed
4. Bed of Snakes
5. My Hidden Friend
6. Light The Pyre
7. Scars On Your Chest
8. Banished Endavours
9. Outward Journey
Lineup:
Tristan Iniguez – Guitars
Andres Pestana Hidalgo – Guitars, Clean Vocals
Pablo Egido - Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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