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This is the debut album from Shambles, a sludgy death metal band from Thailand. They have released 46 minutes of evil, old-school death metal with large, tar-black oceans of doom.

This is mouldy, sludge/doom-infected death metal. Shambles delight in flaying the listener’s skin with ugly death metal, only to slow down to a dismal pace with mournful, pestilent doom metal.

If you imagine a mix of influences from bands such as Asphyx, Incantation, Autopsy, Encoffination, Hooded MenaceCoffins and the like, then you’ll have a decent idea of where Shambles are coming from. It may be a dark place, but it’s a very satisfying one.

‘Realm of Darkness Shrine’ is very good. It’s as simple as that. These songs are lumbering, heavy behemoths that crush and demolish everything in their ponderous path. As stated before, it’s not all played at a snail’s pace, as the band have a firm death metal core. However, even when they’re playing faster the songs have a monolithic quality to them and one can imagine them being infused with some dark magic that causes them to be even weightier than normal.

The album’s production emphasises the heaviness of the band in a way that’s very satisfying. Consequently, the songs leak their dark malevolence into every space available to them through the recording.

‘Realm of Darkness Shrine’ has a lot to savour and enjoy throughout its playing time. If your tastes run to the heavy and grim then this is definitely worth your time. The entire album as a package has a lot to offer and the deal is sealed by the cavernous growls of the singer. He sounds as if he’s capable of swallowing the sun with his inhuman vocals.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. The entire album is filthy, murky and downright nasty, resulting in a very gratifying listen.

Highly recommended.

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Nigel Holloway Nigel is obsessed with Metal, so much so that he often finds himself missing music, even when he's listening to it.