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Jools Green

jools green

shroud of despondency pine

Wisconsin's 'Shroud Of Despondency' have been pretty busy over the last two years. 'Pine' is their third independently released full length album and 2011 saw the release of both 'Dark Meditations In Monastic Seclusion' and 'Objective: Isolation', a collection of previously unreleased tracks. Impressive going by anyone's standards and with no compromise to quality either. The same thing goes for this latest offering, 'Pine'.

The band, currently made up made up of Rory Heikkila and Jon Liedtkeon on guitars, Tyler Okrzesikon on bass and Ron Blembergon on vocals, have been active with a few changes in the line up since 1999. In total the band has released four full lengths and seven demos/split releases.

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Black Metal with a folk influence, they are a little reminiscent of Agalloch but darker, more reflective and brooding. Their lyrics are powerful and thought provoking in content and reflect thriving nature contrasted with the coldness of death. I love new vocalist Ron Blemberg's harsh vocal style, which adds a lot of dark emotion and a bleak atmosphere to the tracks.

The album, a conceptual journey made up of eleven tracks in total, four of which are instrumental and serve to both tie the album together and also break up the heavier tracks. 'Wanderlust (Winged Seed In The Breeze)', the first instrumental and opening track sets the brooding mood with its combination of subtle, haunting strings, gentle breeze and crackling leaves.

The other three, 'Wanderlust (Moist Soil)', 'Wanderlust (Seedling)' and 'Wanderlust (Lightning Precedes Fire)' are of a similar nature, the same haunting strings with spoken vocal overlay or piano and other atmospheric effects to build up layers, giving an excellent depth of sound.

I don't have a favourite track as they are all excellent, from the subtle, interlude like instrumentals to the heavier, blacker more extreme tracks such as the classic styled Black Metal 'Half Open Gates' and 'Nameless End' or the gloom laden 'The Great Sadness Descends' with it's simple yet powerful lyrics;

"All is empty
All is alike
All hath been
The great sadness descends"

The final track is one to raise a smile. 'The Unchaining Of An Animal' is an acoustic, folky number which has a relatively upbeat feel to it in the beginning, until you listen to the lyrics which are a complete contradiction with their bleak misanthropic outlook. It eventually spirals in to full blown melancholy and is pure genius!!

A thought provoking and excellent album indeed, guaranteed to keep your mind occupied throughout. Underground Metal at its best.

Recorded at Folkpocalypse studios in Milwaukee, 'Pine' is available to buy via, along with their previous two releases, as a digital album or CD.




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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