Six years after “Waters of Lethe” the Athenian doomsters Shattered Hope make a great return with a top class full length. “Vespers” is better than anything else they released in the past and definitely is their most mature work. The truth is that we had the chance to taste part of the album one year ago when the band performed on Room of Doom II Festival but here on the album unveils their vision on its full glory as it expands on five lengthy tracks (all of them last from 11 to 15 minutes), an approach that leaves the hope for a great doom/death album unshattered and brings smiles on the faces of the listeners that are fond of sorrowful melodies that in the end bring joy (I know it seems like a contradiction).
Friends of doom/death metal will find here a small diamond of the genre. Dark, slow and pessimistic it will suck you in from the first moment and you will be released only after the final notes of the 15 minutes long “The Judas Tree” that closes the album in an epic way. Like every proper funeral doom album it wont let any crack of light pass through making the sad atmosphere even heavier, something that goes well with the grey cover of the album but also the grey era that we all going through lately.
The album lasts more than 60 minutes and its almost hypnotic rhythms may scare some people but every track is special and unique and houses small special moments (change of rhythm with outbursts, some clean vocals or other interesting details like the use of cretan lyra of Kostas Petrakis on “Towards the Land of Deception”, the guest vocals of Wrath (Dodsferd) on “Verge”) that give the necessary boost on crucial parts of the album just before a heavy riff takes you down to the abyss again. My favourite track is “Syrigmos” (wheezing) where Nikos Vlachakis (vocals) recites at the first part some excerpt from “Zorba The Greek”(written by Nikos Kazantzakis). A great album for sure and easily the album of the month.