Empty World Excursion
~reviewed by Eric Rasmussen
ShamRain is a Finnish band that plays melancholic rock. See also: To/Die/For, HIM, Charon. And if you decide not to discriminate based on country affiliation, you could toss Katatonia and Anathema into the previous list, too. Those are, of course, just the big name bands that play the style ShamRain has chosen to recreate. So the question, as always, is whether or not <x> new band, in this case ShamRain, has contributed something worthwhile to an overdone style of music.
For the most part, I’m inclined to say yes. ShamRain do depressed gothic rock with the best of them - the vocals, in particular, are very articulate and emotive - but they add in atmospheric elements to make the music more interesting. There’s a certain ethereal quality to the songs. Although the vocal melodies are often quite catchy, the band never seems rushed to present them, as are bands appealing to ADD radio listeners. Rather, ShamRain takes its time in letting the songs flow naturally, and at a rather nice, easy going pace.
The main drawback to this approach is that no individual songs stand out above the rest. Empty World Excursion is fun to listen through when I think to turn it on, but the rest of the time it is far from my mind. Nothing on the CD is memorable enough to inspire many repeat listens. I cannot, however, decide whether or not this is a positive attribute for the style. If the goal is to create depressing rock, wouldn’t it be self-defeating to write catchy, memorable songs?
And thus, we come to the conclusion, and the answer to the last question. Empty World Excursion works very well as a somber friend that will sit with you and be depressed, and so I am inclined praise the band on a job well done. But unless you’re frequently in need of a somber, depressed friend, you might find ShamRain lacking in the replayability department. The music is ultimately too light to really engage fans of the darker side of music, but will likely appeal to individuals both more relaxed and remorseful than I.
ShamRain - Official Site: