Seven years after The Leaden Ghost, Shallow Rivers reappear with a new full length that, as is happening in this moment with many of the artistic forms coming from Russia, enjoys mainly internal promotion; anyway, the long hiatus between the two works was interrupted two tears ago by the ep Prometheus Unbound, containing an almost half-hour-long monotrack. The Tales Told Under the Willow is a varied and complex work, as the band led by Yury Ryzhov moves between melodic impulses and a robust death component that, as in The Leaden Ghost, takes over, making it clear that the softer usability of the debut Nihil Euphoria has been set aside. Having said that, the Moscow band’s offerings have a certain depth, even conceptual depth, if we think that three of the tracks are lyrical adaptations of poems by authors such as William Blake, Walt Whitman and Sergey Esenin; Shallow Rivers do not limit themselves to offering predictable melodic death doom, but try to offer variations on the theme in each track, making the whole thing decidedly stimulating, even if it is a little fragmentary. In fact, The Tales Told Under the Willow thrives on dazzling moments that are compressed by an aura that remains menacing even when the harmonies become more appealing. The release on the Russian label Soundage Productions and a Facebook page that is stuck in 2021 makes the album basically available only to those who feel like poking around on the web; needless to say, Shallow Rivers’ latest work deserves a different fate and attention, although the level of a work like Nihil Euphoria is not another time reached due to a different and more oblique approach to the subject matter. Emblematic in this sense is the concluding Спит Ковыль. Равнина Дорогая… | Needlegrass In Sleep. Dear Plain…, where Eisenin’s poetic drama is accompanied by notes steeped in melancholy but not without dissonances and openings that, as in the rest of the work, urge the listener to a patient work to assimilate the non-trivial work of Shallow Rivers.

2022 – Soundage Productions