Shape of Despair

ORIGIN: FinlandFORMED: 1995LABEL: Spinefarm Records
    • Henri Koivula - vocals
    • Natalie Koskinen - lyrical vocals
    • Jarno Salomaa - guitars & keyboards
    • Tomi Ullgren - guitars, studio bass
    • Daniel Neagoe - drums
    • Sami Uusitalo - bass

The band was founded in 1995 as Raven by Jarno Salomaa and Tomi Ullgren. In 1998 they released their first demo tapeAlone in the Mist. They changed their name in September 1998 to Shape of Despair. In 2000 they signed a deal with Spikefarm Records and released their debut album Shades of….

The second album Angels of Distress, released on September 2001, featured Pasi Koskinen on lead vocals and Samu Ruotsalainen on drums. Sami Uusitalo joined up in 2002 to play bass for the third album Illusion’s Play. It was released in 2004.

In 2005, the band released a compilation titled Shape of Despair, featuring rare and unreleased material from the group, including tracks from the band’s first demo Alone in the Mist and a new song called Sleeping Murder, recorded over a four-day period at Sundicoop Studios in Savonlinna, Finland. After a 5-year lull the band released the EP Written in My Scars and a split EP with Before The Rain.

Their 4th full-length album Monotony Fields was released on June 15, 2015 by Season of Mist.

”When a man finds that it is his destiny to suffer… his unique opportunity lies in the way he bears his burden.” – Viktor Frankl (1905 – 1997)

If suffering is an integral element of great art and indeed life itself, one must wonder what kind of pain has been inflicted upon the minds behind Finland’s Shape of Despair for them to paint such disconsolate sonic landscapes. Terms like ”glacial”, ”gargantuan” and ”monstrous” have been used to try and describe Shape of Despair’s bleak hymns but alas, words fall short and simply cannot convey the crushing weight, vastness and melancholy of their sorrowful dirge.

Shape of Despair has been a forerunner of what is generally (and quite inanely) classified as ”funeral doom” for the last 15 odd years. After the demise of their death metal band in 1995, Jarno Salomaa and Tomi Ullgren decided to create something different, something darker, something to reflect the abject atmosphere of life in the council estates and the contrasting serenity found in the nature surrounding their area.

In 2000, Spikefarm Records, a burgeoning sidelabel for the well established Spinefarm Records, signed Shape of Despair and released their debut album, ”Shades of…” to rave reviews and general praise from the international doom community. The band was still to deliver it’s proverbial coup de grace in the form of 2001’s ”Angels of Distress”, an album that cemented their position as THE doom band of the new millennium. ”Illusion’s Play”, released in 2004 and the self-titled compilation a year later were their last records for Spikefarm and marked the end of an era for Shape of Despair.

Reinvigorated by the addition of new vocalist Henri Koivula and a freshly inked deal with France’s , Season of Mist, Shape of Despair are set to begin anew, delivering yet another monolith of morosity. Swiss philosopher and poet Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821 – 1881) wrote: “You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.” And that is exactly what Shape of Despair are doing. Abandon all hope, for a new era of despondency is at hand.

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