Review Summary: "Before Our Final Reckoning" has plenty of potential, but it falls short because of it's sloppy production and the inclusion of lackluster interludes.
Enfold Darkness Is:
Matt Brown: Lead Guitar & Support Vocals
James Turk: Rhythm Guitar & Support Vocals
Justin Corser: Vocals
A.J. Lewandowski: Bass
Jack Blackburn: Drums
Enfold Darkness is a difficult band to classify. Some people say they have "core" elements, writing them off as another "sumeriancore" band. The band plays what is best described as a very technical version of blackened death metal, with some influences from hardcore and even folk metal. Surprisingly, they originate from not only the USA, but in one of the places we'd never even expect to get any type of Death Metal: Tennessee.
This is the bands first recording released, and it's a short one at that. Coming in at 26 minutes, it has 4 songs, and 3 interludes. These interludes are comprised of an ambient, folk metal feeling. Enfold Darkness was trying to enhance the mood of the album with these interludes, but none of them feel like they fit in the album. This form of contrast is made infinitely better in their debut full length, "Our Cursed Rapture", where there is one interlude, and it is extremely well written and placed write before the 8 minute closer. However, in this EP, these interludes do almost nothing for the album.
Luckily, Enfold Darkness wrote 4 quality blackened death metal songs for this album, one of which, "Dead In The Brine", made it over to the debut album. The highlight of the EP however, is "An Enemy Brought The Plague". It begins by kicking you full power in the face with one of the best riffs I've heard in a while. The guitarwork for this band is exceptional, but it is really highlighted in the solos. This band has the ability to craft solos like a band that's been doing it for 20 years. This gets even better on the next album, especially in the song "Exaltations Pt. 1".
If there is one thing about the album that brings it down, it is definitely it's production, specifically: the vocals. If you weren't turned off by the vocals in the debut, then you probably will be now. The high vocals have a raw feeling, and it does detract from the albums potential. The guitars feel very muddy, which is not a good thing if you're aiming for something that's relatively technical (Unless you're trying to go for something like Portal, which these guys are clearly not). Since the production is rather lackluster, we hardly get to hear any bass at all. The drums are impressive, but again, it feels like they just aren't loud enough, being engulfed by the vocals and the guitars.
I would recommend the song "An Enemy Brought The Plague" to anyone who liked the debut album, but overall, this album is probably best saved for people who loved the debut album and want more. The sloppy production and excessive use of interviews detract from an album that could have been very good, luckily, we eventually got that album with "Our Cursed Rapture".