Shadow Of Intent - Elegy (Blood Blast Distribution)
Since its rise to popularity in the late 2000s and early 2010s, deathcore has done what many sub-genres before it failed to do. Growing beyond slam heavy riffs, it latched onto influences from black metal, tech-death, thrash, and symphonic metal over the years. This evolution gave rise to a new generation of bands raised on the original formula and experimenting with other textures and tones.
Arguably, one of the most exciting bands to emerge from the new wave is the Connecticut/Rhode Island based quartet Shadow of Intent. Evolving from an online collaboration into a respected, internationally touring heavyweight, this January will be witness to the release of their fourth album, Elegy (Blood Blast Distribution). The thirteen tracks collectively deliver an explosive payload of breakdowns, guitar solos, lush keyboards, and several well chosen guest appearances.
The immense orchestral buildup that begins the opening track, "Farewell", gives way to machine gun double bass delivered by drummer Bryce Butler (also of Abigail Williams), and the razor sharp guitar and bass work of Chris Wiseman (also of Currents) and Andrew Monias respectively. Vocalist Ben Duerr rounds out the sound with roars that would send any cosmic horror fleeing back into deep space out of fear.
Setting the bar high from the start, "Saurian King" keeps the ball rolling with a somber guitar section that kicks back into heavy territory. Blending clear influences from melodic black metal with a subtle piano line, and groove reminiscent of early Dååth, the epic knob goes right to eleven and stays there for the entire song.
For listeners that enjoyed the piano section, stay tuned for "Of Fury", which tips a hat to the works of Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. Fans of Paradise Lost would do well to take a listen to "Life of Exile", perhaps one of the few examples of a deathcore dirge.
The second half of the album is where the aforementioned guests take the mic. The vicious voice of Phil Bozeman (Whitechapel) pours on the intensity in "Where Millions Have Come to Die". For listeners experiencing an uncontrollable need to bang their heads during "Blood in the Sands of Time," let the barks of Chuck Billy (Testament) free you of fears: let your head bang until your neck strains. It should also be stated here that additional piano and keyboard for Elegy is provided by Francesco Ferrini of Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Concluding with the title track, split into three separate movements, "I: Adapt" is a short, atmospheric listen to give a bit of a break from the intensity thus far. Be warned, a circle pit is on the horizon for the galloping "II: Divise" and its impeccable instrumentation. For those still standing, "III: Overcome" is the final level to survive and truly feels like what your favorite video game character would listen to as they make their way to the exit after a long battle or journey.
The Metal Mayan Rating: 5/5
Full disclosure, having been a part of the Connecticut music scene for nearly twenty years, I have known of Shadow of Intent since the beginning. I have been fortunate enough to share the stage with their original drummer (who now plays for Oceano and Euclid). Chris Wiseman's band Currents has been a staple of the CT metal scene for a long time in several incarnations, and I was briefly in a band with their vocalist.
That said, it is my completely unbiased opinion that Elegy is one of the most exciting releases of the first quarter of 2021; I won't be surprised if it makes top 20 or top 10 lists by the end of the year. The catchiness of songs like "Of Fury" and "Saurian King" had me playing them again and again. Likewise, there was so much beauty in "Life of Exile" that also had the song on repeat. I also have to give major props to "Blood in the Sands of Time" between its stellar composition and the feature from Chuck Billy.
Visit your favorite local record store to pick up a copy of Elegy, out 14 January via Blood Blast Distribution. Be sure to catch Shadow of Intent on tour with Cannibal Corpse, Whitechapel, and Revocation this February and March. Who knows, maybe Phil will sit in for a live performance of "Where Millions Have Come to Die"? #makeithappen
Advance album copy courtesy of Cosa Nostra PR and Blood Blast Distribution