alt="Shape of Despair - Illusion's Play (2004, Spikefarm Records) COVER"

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Shape of Despair – Illusion’s Play

Album | 27/09/2004 | Spikefarm Records
61:28 | 6 tracks | CD/Digital
Funeral Doom / Dark Ambient
Helsinki, Finland

Sounds from the Hellhole

Illusion’s Play was the third album by Shape of Despair, formerly known as Raven. It was also the first album with Sam Uusitalo on bass which meant that Tomi Ullgren switched to rhythm guitar. For the recording sessions, the band made themselves home at Helsinki’s Hellhole Studios with Kaide Hinkkala and Antti Lindell. The material was then mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios. Around thirteen months after the first sessions, over sixty minutes of atmospheric and freezing sounds were released ona six-track CD via Spikefarm Records, the sublabel of Spinefarm Records. The re-issue by Season of Mist was published in the following year.

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Icicles in the Void

A six-minute intro and five tracks, each of them between eight and seventeen minutes in duration lead the listeners to a sphere where all meanings of time and space have frozen eternally. Traces of Dark Ambient or Gothic Rock add tiny sparkles to this icebound and eschatologic soundscape. In present day, similar elements can be found in Post Metal bands such A Secret Revealed or Praise the Plague. Despite these parallels, Shape of Despair’s Illusion’s Play is without doubt deeply rooted in the Funeral Doom sound. Illusion’s Play is a descending journey, deep into the darkest and coldest regions of the human psyche, a voyage towards rigour and despair.
8/10 Mangoes

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Mia Schem
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