Review Summary: The Red Shore turn in an matured and developed performance on their sophomore effort.
After the tragic circumstances of December 2007, which saw singer Damien Morris pass away following a horrific road traffic accident, and a series of subsequent line-up changes and shifting of band members, the future, it is fair to say, looked uncertain for The Red Shore.
Yet, after all this inner turmoil, the Australian outfit have against the odds managed to turn in an matured and developed performance on sophomore effort ‘The Avarice Of Man’, and have delivered a record that, although for many will not be sufficient to shake off their deathcore tag, displays a great deal of extreme metal competence.
Opener ‘Seeds Of Annihilation’ (following a completely redundant intro track, which is tantamount to utter silence for a whole minute) kicks off with a sinister rumble that calls to mind the crushing dissonance of bands such as Immolation, before the technical frenzy of the guitar takes over with rapid fire lead lines carried along by the blast beats of new drummer Tim Shearman.
Indeed, one of the most overtly impressive aspects to this album is the inclusion of some unexpectedly eccentric riff work. ‘Human, All To Human’ and ’Of First And Last Things’ feature a glut of fret flaying guitar work, with some high-speed runs that bend and curve in a manner that achieves a certain quirkiness, yet never seems ridiculous or becomes too peculiar to the point where it is not a decent riff. It is also note worthy that The Red Shore steer clear of the technical overkill that so many fall victim of, and are aware of when to reign in the frenzied unruliness and settle into a satisfying groove.
Breakdowns are handled with, by today’s standards, a different touch also, as the band forgo the all too common half-time chug, and opt for, such as on the title track and the aforementioned ’Of First And Last Things’ huge, epic passages where arpeggiated chords are allowed to ring out and reverb soaked leads inject a pleasant melodic edge to the tracks. This is not to say that all the chugging guitars have been abandoned (far from it), yet when they are present, the effect they have is more akin to the sludgy Suffocation-esque grooves than to mindless two step fodder.
Vocalist Chase Butlers debut performance is most certainly a competent one, although it can hardly be called remarkable. His signature, guttural roar is maintained throughout with a minimal amount of variation, and despite the fact his vocals are good, I think it is also fairly evident that some deviation from his constant bellow every once in a while would have been a great enhancement. But all in all, his vocal work merely gets the job done.
Shearmans drum work is stellar. Although coming from a hardcore background, he is able to match the complexity and pace of the tracks with ease as he pummels his kit with aggression and inventiveness. Blast beats are executed with proficiency, yet used sparingly for maximum impact (such as in the furious ‘Armies Of Damnation‘), and his double bass work is consistently accomplished.
‘The Avarice Of Man’ reveals a great development in song writing craft for The Red Shore. Whilst the technical bluster remains intact, the band have honed their craft and injected a new dynamism into their sound that shows a capability in moving beyond deathcore clichés and creating a unique slant into which they can explore their talent. The Red Shore are certainly an outfit to take note of.