Beginning sweetly via chirping birds, the peacefulness doesn’t last long as ferocity quickly rockets from the speakers during “Hellfire”, the cataclysmic opening track off of Haunted Shores newest release Void. Calamitous world events have led the duo down some dark paths which they express instrumentally throughout the eight-song offering.
A side project of Periphery guitarists Misha Mansoor and Mark Holcomb, Haunted Shores took some time during the pandemic to refocus and come out stronger than ever with Void. The duo co-wrote and produced the album (including revamping past efforts), played all the instruments (even programming the frantic drumming) and Mansoor mixed things as the band was locked down.
While there are flashes of math rock and progressive metal seeping in from their main band, Holcomb and Mansoor simply dive into the aggression. The older tracks that are reimagined here each receive an extra boost as “When In Oslo” is full of fretboard fireworks and heavy slamming while “Immaterial” uses stop-start drumming and digitally clean riffs to traverse the sonic beyond.
“Onlyfangs” is a scorcher that turns cinematic halfway through before breaking into out and out blast beats to wrap up while “Perpetual Windburn” keeps the chaotic tension mounting around digital enhancements and operatic swells underneath the thrash metal fury.
“Null” uses a restrained feedback soundscape, acting as a much-needed pause to the sonic assault, while the title track seems oddly out of place; a pretty rising string tune that ends up too polished and hopeful amongst the death metal inspired instrumentals.
Closer “Nocturnal Hours” (another older reworked offering) gets an added infusion of the saxophone from Jorgen Munkeby as the finale is the most complete effort here. Beginning soft, it allows the two guitarists to set the scene before the power explodes and Munkeby’s sax enters adding depth. Void wraps up with those chirping birds again as the album comes full circle with Haunted Shores spinning it at warp speed the whole way.