Review Summary: The potential is there for this sci-fi metalcore group if they could perfect their USP.
Venetian sci-fi metal group Shading love their 80s and 90s sci-fi. Their new album The Vanishing of Our Lore paints a dystopian machine-ruled world influenced by cult classic movies and anime such as Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell and Akira, supplemented by 45 minutes of punishing-yet-melodic metalcore. The result is a fascinating album full of potential.
Multi-layered guitars and textured production by Ermin Hamidovic (also known for his work with Periphery and Animals As Leaders) mean that The Vanishing of Our Lore comes flying out of the gates with “Abyss”, with the intensity only increasing once the chugging monolith of “Breathless” hits. Just two tracks in, it’s clear that there is a lot of technical ability within guitarists Alex Aramini and Andrea Miotto, while drummer Mattia Bastianello is able to keep up with aplomb. You can actually hear some Periphery influence in this band at times, particularly in the vocals of Damiano Affinito. Whether this is as a result of, or cause of, Hamidovic’s involvement I have no idea, but it works well for them.
Something the guys in Shading excel at is moving between heavy guitars and atmospheric passages. The longer track lengths, often exceeding 5 or 6 minutes allows for a wide range of dynamic shifts within the same song, allowing for mid-song breaks and giving the music a chance to organically build momentum. Even the “shorter” songs, like 4 minute track “Convergence”, is constantly shifting around, with stop start riffs, melodic choruses and ambient passages, while slow burners like “Stranger” and especially “Worldwaker” almost have a Coheed & Cambria-meets-Architects sort of feel to them. Shading aren’t content with being another generic metalcore band, they’re intent on using their progressive influences to write unconventional song structures and show off the full extent of their range.
The main issue with The Vanishing of Our Lore is that the band tends to wear its influences on its sleeve a little too much at times. As mentioned earlier, the Periphery influences are clear, with Damiano Affinito’s vocals at times perfectly mimicing those of Spencer Soleto. The band does a terrific job of writing unconventional song structures at times, but can still fall into the pit of predictability with their breakdowns, which is a weakness inherent within the metalcore genre. “Yomi” in particular is guilty of this, as is lead single “The Scent”. But they still manage to pull it off well enough to draw in listeners. In future releases it would benefit Shading to try to carve out their own identity a little more and truly establish who they want to be as a band.
Altogether, though, The Vanishing of Our Lore is a very good debut album for Shading. The Italian group have laid down the groundwork for creating their own niche in the overcrowded prog-metalcore scene, which all too often is flooded with cheap Architects clones (no disrespect to Architects, a fantastic band in their own right). The signs are there for Shading to be a real success, and all that can really be said to them is to just keep up what they’re doing.