Shape of Despair

Shape of Despair
STYLE: 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

Shape of Despair was founded in 1995 as Raven by Jarno Salomaa and Tomi Ullgren. In 1998 they released their first demo tape Alone 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.



Alone in the Mist / 2016

  • Album Info
  • 2016
  • Spinefarm Records

1. Down into the Stream 
2. To Adorn 
3. Shadowed Dreams 
4. Woundheir 
5. In the Mist 
6. Outro 

Monotony Fields / 2015

  • Album Info
  • 2015
  • Spinefarm Records

Monotony Fields is the fourth studio album by Finnish funeral doom metal band Shape of Despair, released on June 15, 2015 by Season of Mist as CD digipak and LP.[4] It is the first album to feature Henri Koivula on lead vocals. The song “Written in My Scars” was first released on the EP Written in My Scars, but was re-recorded for this album.

All lyrics written by Henri Koivula, except “Written in My Scars” (by Pasi Koskinen); all music composed by Jarno Salomaa and Tomi Ullgren.

1. “Reaching the Innermost”

2. “Monotony Fields”

3. “Descending Inner Night”

4. “The Distant Dream of Life”

5. “Withdrawn”

6. “In Longing”

7. “The Blank Journey”

8. “Written in My Scars (Bonus Track)”


Illusion's Play / 2004

  • Album Info
  • 2004
  • Spinefarm Records

Illusion’s Play is funeral doom metal band Shape of Despair‘s third studio album.

  1. “Sleep Mirrored (Instrumental)” – 6:09
  2. “Still-Motion” – 16:29
  3. “Entwined in Misery” – 8:03
  4. “Curse Life” – 9:18
  5. “Fragile Emptiness” – 8:56
  6. “Illusion’s Play” – 12:36
All music & lyrics written in years ’00-’02 by Jarno Salomaa.

Angels of Distress / 2001

  • Album Info
  • 2001
  • Spinefarm Records

Angels of Distress is funeral doom metal band Shape of Despair‘s second studio album. It was mastered in Finnvox by Mika Jussila. The album is packaged in a digipak and includes no booklet, though the lyrics can be viewed on the band’s official website.

  1. “Fallen” – 6:09
  2. “Angels of Distress” – 9:43
  3. “Quiet These Paintings Are” – 14:40
  4. “…To Live for My Death…” – 17:22
  5. “Night’s Dew” – 7:00
Music and lyrics by Jarno Salomaa in 1997 and 1999.

Shades Of... / 2000

  • Album Info
  • 2000
  • Spinefarm Records

Shades Of… is the first album by funeral doom band Shape of Despair. Unlike their other albums, it has a mainly solid guitar sound all the way through that is constantly played. Their more recent releases, for example Illusion’s Play have more ambience.

Track listing

  1. “…In the Mist” – 13:41
  2. “Woundheir” – 10:43
  3. “Shadowed Dreams” – 11:11
  4. “Down Into the Stream” – 8:19
  5. “Sylvan-Night” – 12:59

Songs written and composed by Jarno Salomaa from 1995-1997.

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