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I don't usually expect something as bleak and dark as SHALLOW GRAVE's debut album from New Zealand's Astral Projection record label. In general, owner and multi-instrumentalist Craig Williamson uses Astral Projection to release music of his own musical projects which are Lamp Of The Universe, Arc Of Ascent and Datura. In direct comparison to SHALLOW GRAVE, all these outfits do sound very happy and uplifting. But quite apart from that, New Zealand's SHALLOW GRAVE prefer other musical regions than Craig Williamson's own bands. SHALLOW GRAVE dares to take a no-holds-barred "peek into the chaos" of all those dark, mysterious feelings, contradictions and chasms in the depths of the human soul. This sounds a bit cheesy, but I can't find another way to describe this deep black maelstrom of an album.

All of this is accompanied by a destructive, unsettling sonic wave which is working its way through my eardrums. There are a few moments when SHALLOW GRAVE calm down, which does not mean that the music becomes more peaceful. As always, it's just the calm before the storm. Each of the 6 songs is pretty apocalyptic and crushingly heavy. I know, these are frequently used phrases in album reviews, but here it fits perfectly. Huge, sludgy riffs, deep brooding bass, abrasive vocals as well as a bit of tribal drumming ensure for an intense listening experience that rarely fails to have a strong impact on me, provided I am in the right mood for this stuff.

Due to the excellent flow of the songs, this album has a more textured, almost soundtrack feel to it that requires a prolonged attention. So, if you're looking for an immense album with lengthy, epic and churning odes to the human abyss, then you should add a copy of SHALLOW GRAVE's debut to your collection. Listen to it alone in the dark and you will realize that depression is power.