Released: 2004, Spikefarm Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Feeling depressed, alone, abandoned and thinking of committing suicide? Then don’t bother to read any further because Finnish Funeral Doomsters Shape Of Despair may have a negative effect on you. They surely aren’t any spiritual healers of the wounded mind and therefore won’t work as any cure, that’s for sure. As for the music, well, if you have ever heard any songs off the band’s previous two albums, SHADES OF ... or ANGELS OF DISTRESS, then you surely know what to expect from them as far as their very depressive sounding Doom Metal is concerned, don’t you?
On ILLUSION’S PLAY the band continues to spread their unshakeable and desolate message through 6 lengthy tunes (“Still-motion” clocking in at 16:29 and “Illusion’s Play” reaching 12:36) they have pulled together for their third full-length album. Nothing has changed that much at all as far as Shape Of Despair’s depressive and occasionally even very dreamy, Funeral Doom Metal is concerned. The band sounds as heavy, depressive, eerie and at times very powerful even as they always have. Also, for their advantage it must be pointed out that there are many calmer, sleepier moments in their songs, kind of reminding me of Twin Peaks’ psychedelic atmospheres that basically offer a short break for the listener to prepare to get mangled again by a crushingly pressuring atmosphere that is present on ILLUSION’S PLAY. Nata’s beautifully ethereal vocal parts combined with Pasi’s (Ajattara, Amorphis) bowel-deep and dark vocalism provide a nice contrast to the songs, whereas Tomi Ullgren’s (Rapture, Thy Serpent) powerful yet professionally churned-out, highly melodic and tasteful guitar parts carry the songs strongly toward new heights of a total doom. It’s actually hard to imagine how they could possibly become any heavier and more depressive than this, as they possess such a huge load of a sheer heaviness and depressive moments.
ILLUSION’S PLAY isn’t that type of record you could listen to, let’s say, 4 or 5 times in a row, due to its very depressive nature. In smaller doses, it’s a perfect entertainment for persons with healthy minds only.