Written By: Noam Asulin
Release Date - 14/1/2022
Label - Self-released
I write this review with great enthusiasm, compared to the rest of my reviews here, and this is because "Elegy" is, at the moment, my metal album of the year for 2022. This in itself is very surprising to me and you will immediately understand why.
"Shadow of Intent" is a Deathcore band coming from Connecticut, USA. It was formed in 2013 as a band that revolves around "Halo" (the popular video game) and its name was even a reference to a ship in the game. The band was formed by Ben Duerr (vocals) and Chris Wiseman (Backing vocals, guitars, and clean vocals.) In charge of bass and background vocals is Andrew Monias and the drums are played by Bryce Butler, who joined the band in 2020.
From its inception until today, the band has undergone several lineup changes when, as mentioned, the last change was in the drums position.
To date, the band has released four studio albums, all of which were self-released, without any record company support.
At the beginning of the review, I mentioned that I was surprised to understand that this is, as of today, my album of the year in metal. The reason is that Deathcore is a genre I usually dislike. It is usually a brutal genre to my ears, with a lot of "mess" in the songs, and for me, it is sometimes difficult to identify a melody or some orderly structure in the music.
What sets "Shadow of Intent" apart from other Deathcore bands, for me, especially on the "Elegy" album, is the erupting melody. No more messy songs that make it hard on the ear, but melodic songs that along with the brutality that is characteristic of Deathcore, also convey a structure that is easy to follow and allows the human ear to adapt to it more easily than other bands in the sub-genre. Of course, I'm only speaking on my own behalf and some will say that any Deathcore, melodic or not, is wonderful.
The album begins with "Farewell". Every time I hear this song I mistakenly think it's an intro, but it's a song in itself that starts calmly and after a few seconds attacks the ear in full force. The melody I talked about before, is already clearly heard here.
The second track "Saurian King" begins with a guitar solo that very quickly changes into the deep and powerful growls of vocalist Ben Duerr, along with wonderful drumming and keyboards. Lots of keyboards. Throughout the album, the keyboards are very dominant, which in my opinion very much emphasizes, the melodies and the difference from "traditional" Deathcore. Plus, this album also seems to have a progressive influence with pretty complicated guitar work reminiscent of some virtuoso prog bands.
The fifth track "Intensified Genocide" is for me the strongest on the album, with a wonderful simple chorus and very dominant keyboards that add a lot to the atmosphere of the song and my desire to sink deep into it, close my eyes and let the music sweep me away. According to Ben Duerr, the song is about Georgia's civil war.
The seventh track "Where Millions Have Come to Die" features a collaboration with Phill Bozeman from another Deathcore band called "Whitechapel". The ninth track "Blood in the Sand of Time" also includes a collaboration, this time with Chuck Billy from the thrash band "Testament".
The tenth track "Reconquest" is an instrumental piece and I really enjoy it, because it shows that the band members know how to produce interesting instrumental pieces as well.
The last three tracks are actually a musical work divided into three parts. The first track "Elegy I: Adapt" shows a slightly different side of vocalist Ben Duerr, with a rough but not yet growling voice. This section is relatively quiet and very progressive. The second part "Elegy II: Devise" returns to the melodic Deathcore and the final track "Elegy III: Overcome" continues the line of its predecessor.
The production in my eyes is polished and the mix is very balanced and gives space to all the tools.
In conclusion, I think this is a simply wonderful album of the friends from Connecticut. Even more amazing to me is that the band's arsenal has four albums up to date, without any outside support, and still the level remains high. "Shadow of Intent" knows how to produce a melodic Deathcore and knows how to do it wonderfully. I definitely hope they continue to release a lot of albums.
If up until now you avoided Deathcore, but are still intrigued and want to give melodic Deathcore a chance, try "Shadow of Intent" and I don't think you'll be sorry.