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Shades Of Deep Water : Shades Of Deep Water's Universe (Compilation)

This 2015 compilation of two short EPs sees Shades Of Deep Water crafting the best melodies of their career.

Two years after the riff assault of the debut full-length, Shades Of Deep Water released two short EPs in the span of half a year, first individually in digital form and afterwards independently on a tape compiling both. This tape is very, very simple with no front cover art - except the band name on a completely black background - and minimal information, with not even the song titles listed. Once again, only J.H.'s initials are provided. This first tape was aptly called 'Shades of Deep Water's Universe'. A year later a second release was issued by Dunkelheit Produktionen, who -up until now - had only distributed and thus supported the band. Once again a tape, but much more professional with nice complex cosmos themed artwork and a color matching blue shelled tape albeit with no dedicated album title other than the two EP titles back to back. I have both tapes and if you are looking for this album I’d suggest getting the Dunkelheit version as the sound there is noticeably better than on the independent release.

This compilation continues the band's riff based approach towards music and keeps to the already matured structure he has adopted since the beginning - pretty fast, purely melody driven sound that builds up via plenty of breaks which help the melodies evolve further. The melodies here are slightly sadder, more mournful and drawn out than the sharp and concise riffs of the full length. The cymbals still sound fantastic and the cavernous growls are the best yet - deep, slow and menacing and not as raspy or spoken-like as before. The album is quite heavy with a really good production, melodic, mostly up-tempo and slightly dismal at times. The riffs are powerful, seductive and full of hooks that will keep your attention fixed.

J.H. has always been a master of delivering solid catchy melodies, but this release really does shine in that aspect. They are more accomplished than ever and even though the dark atmosphere is once again lacking they provide a wonderful listening experience. All melody lines are unique while sounding familiar as they all share a distinct Shades Of Deep Water feeling to them. They are so catchy and so memorable that I often get a "heard it before" feeling. J.H. also knows exactly when to change the riff and when to bring it back slightly modified and fresh.

'Decades' is a definite highlight not only of this release but of Shades Of Deep Water's entire discography. The central melody there is slow and as epic as it gets - beautiful, blissful and simply stunning. It might well be the best melody created by J.H., it sounds truly sad, mournful and heartfelt and it is so good you just cannot get enough of it. Nor can you remove it from your mind and it stays with you long after the album has finished. It evolves throughout the song but remains spectacular and satisfying. Asunder's 'A Famine' does something similar exploring the same theme throughout the song while getting heavier and slower.

Both EPs last around sixteen to seventeen minutes and out of the two 'Syvien Sävyjen Universumi' is the more dynamic and versatile one, mostly sitting in the upbeat corner of music and despite its darkish essence it gives you energy rather than sucking the life out of you. It is catchy but it still feels more sentimental and dramatic than 'The Desolation' which despite its name does not reek of desolation but is still the more downbeat and morose of the two. 'Death To Mortal Men' in particular is where the album slows down significantly assuming a Funeral Doom pace with strong drums and the occasional breaks with catchy melodies.

Once again the talent of J.H. is evident and he has created another top notch release proving Shades Of Deep Water to be a highly underrated band. Overall this is one of the most user friendly Doom Metal albums you can get giving you just the right amount of darkness you can handle on a sunny day. It combines the best from both worlds - by thorough engagement while preserving the serious side and the gloominess most of the time it provides pure entertainment without compromising the darkness too much.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
'Syvien Sävyjen Universumi':
1. Universe
2. Syvien Sävyjen Universumi
3. Decades
'The Desolation':
4. Wide Wings Once Torn
5. Death To Mortal Men

Duration : Approx. 33 minutes

Visit the Shades Of Deep Water bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-01-21 by Klamerin Malamov
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