Shadow Of Intent
Melancholy


5.0
classic

Review

by Tristan Matheny USER (1 Reviews)
August 16th, 2019 | 334 replies


Release Date: 08/16/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An Epic Transcendent Merging of Beauty, Technicality, and Aggression. Shadow of Intent Deliver What Could Be The Next Genre Defining Classic.

Melancholy is the third studio effort by death metal band Shadow of Intent. This is their follow up to 2017's Halo themed symphonic deathcore masterpiece Reclaimer, and to say that they have out done themselves would be understatement of the year. What they have crafted with Melancholy is a technical exhibition of the highest calibre possible. It is very apparent they all the guy's in the band care tremendously about the material they produce, and it comes off with every verse sung, every note played, every symbol crashed, and every track written.

First, and foremost. This record is an absolute exhibition in stellar songwriting. Every single track has a fantastic structure, and flow which makes every track feel different, but never different enough to feel like apart of a different record. Ben's vocals need no introduction. His delivery, technique, sound, and versatility are all on full display here. From the lowest lows, to the highest of highs, Ben excels at every aspect one could ask for in an extreme metal band. Shadow is no stranger to Dimmu Borgir style "spoken word" style vocals, but they are definitely a fantastic element that adds just that little bit extra variety in the record. Trevor Strnad is the only guest spot on the album, but he delivers so much to Barren's replayability with his trademark vocal style, and he is given two verses to shine, one of which leads in to a solo. If you are gonna do a feature, that is how you do it.

Chris Wiseman's talent behind the fretboard seems to be endless as he effortlessly shreds some of the most intricate, yet beautiful riffs, and solo's I've heard all year. Couple that with fantastic vocal, and percussion transitions into said solo's, and you've got yourselves a near flawless guitar performance. He also has a fantastic set of "clean" backing vocals that service as a great ying-yang element to Ben's thunderous pipes. The percussion on this album was recorded by non other than Anthony Barone (A Night in Texas), and the addition of his pure talent really does wonders for this record's epic feel. Anthony really know's his craft as he delivers some of the most punishing drum segments I've heard in a long time. Each song is an endurance test blast beats, and brutality. The bassline by Andrew Monais is not to be forgotten, as it is the foundation that this masterwork was built upon. Without that needed support, added depth, and overall groove, I doubt the record would be as heavy, nor as memorable as it is.

Lyrically, Shadow of Intent has broken free of the shackles to the Halo franchise (which some die hard Halo fanatics, like myself, may be disappointed by. This notion is soon squashed due the records demand for your total attention) that they once tied themselves to. Instead they have opted to create a concept album to tell their own story of a malicious evil goddess dubbed "the Gravesinger" which causes mass suicide to the creatures of the Earth, and our protagonist kills themselves early on, and the record is essentially a journey through the bowels of the underworld in an attempt to escape back to reality. That is the cliffnotes explanation, but the lyrics themselves require a deeper look to fully understand. The records full lyrical focus is on depression, suicide, and the melancholic state of mind one is in before killing themselves, this is linked to the discovery that antidepressants led to higher suicide rates in adolescents. I appreciate the bands willingness to tackle a subject that many deal with, or have dealt with. Shadow of Intent worked with Francesco Ferrini (Fleshgod Apocalypse) to develop the orchestral, symphonic elements to their brand of symphonic deathcore/death metal, and it really adds that extra layer, and atmosphere to a record already full of meaning, and purpose.

The Dreaded Mystic Abyss is 10 minute instrumental piece that is quite possibly one of the best instrumental works ever put to music. It is a gauntlet of percussion, bass, and guitar songwriting prowess, and perfection. It hits, and hits, and hits until it ends. Never a moment to even breathe.

The only criticism I have other than the record ending is that the re-recording of "Underneath a Sullen Moon" loses a little something in the replayability department due to the breakdown not hitting as hard as it did in the original release. The drums, and atmosphere are better, but I prefer the original slightly.

Melancholy is to 2019 what Where Owls Know My Name was to 2018 for me. A Lord of the Rings-esque experience, it is more than music. This truly show's that extreme metal, and metal as a whole is art, and that art should be recognized for it's perfection.

What separates good bands from great bands is their inherent ability to create a work that does not solely rely on one style or subgenre, but instead being able to pull from many to create an amalgamation of death metal that is seemingly the best of many different subgenres. Shadow of Intent may as well not even be referred to as a "deathcore" band anymore as this record does not rely on the breakdowns, angst laden lyrics, and chugging riffs that deathcore has become synonymous with. Melancholy has shed the formulaic nature of that genre (I love deathcore) to blossom into a death metal powerhouses they deserve to become.

I could go on ad nauseam about how quality this record is, but I don't want to sound like a broken record. Instead I will leave you with this, if you consider yourself a death metal connoisseur, or just a metalhead in every sense. You owe it to yourself to experience this record. Of course, music is subjective, but there is something here for every type of metalhead. Breakdowns, solo's, vocal harmonies, catchy choruses, clean vocals, exquisite percussion, groovy bassline, and many other thing's. I urge you to listen to it, share it with friends, your family, your dog, your neighbors pet goldfish. Spread the word, let it be known that Shadow of Intent are the one's. Album of the year most certainly.

I want to thank all members of Shadow of Intent for creating a true masterpiece.
Ben, Chris, Anthony, and Andrew. We as a community love you. I love you. Keep bringing the heat.

Thanks for reading.


user ratings (304)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (3)
All good intentions…...

LanqiuLong (2.5)
Shadow of Intent continues to be a hit or miss band for me. They still represent much of the problem...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Durrzo
August 16th 2019


1874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice review, it's hard to write a 5 without it coming off as overly fanboyish, and you pulled it off.

My first spin of this left me with mixed feelings, but that was due to my expectations of the band rather than the album itself. I was missing some of the insanity and over-the-top moments that Reclaimer had such heavy doses of.

Once I wrapped my head around the style shift it grew on me real quick. This is definitely their most consistently strong album. Absolutely masterful songwriting. Chris Wiseman is a god of this genre as far as I'm concerned. The same goes for Ben, obviously. I have a feeling this is the album that is REALLY going to put these guys on people's radars.

All that said, The Tartarus Impalement is still my favorite song from them. Mystic Abyss is stupidly good but I can't give the top spot to a song without Ben's vocals.

TundraL5Z
August 16th 2019


3149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review dude, I had no idea the album was conceptual, that just adds a new layer to the enjoyability factor. I think we all knew this record was going to be flames, lol. I'm gonna be listening to this record a LOT these next couple months

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2019


14560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'An Epic Transcendent Merging of Beauty, Technicality, and Aggression. Shadow of Intent Deliver What Could Be The Next Genre Defining Classic.'





why all the capitalisation?

Digging: Prefab Sprout - From Langley Park To Memphis

Flugmorph
August 16th 2019


21509 Comments


please don't capitalize every word in the summary, looks hideous

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not gonna lie, this comes across as quite a ramble after some time. Understandable to an extent since any 5-worthy album can be difficult to accurately describe since a strong emotional connection is usually forged.



I'll give this album a shot. The deathcore ties have me worried, but it sounds like they pulled a Slice the Cake move and committed to a death metal sound that sometimes uses breakdowns. All this positive reception is bringing out some skepticism but I'll go in with no expectations.

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

Flugmorph
August 16th 2019


21509 Comments


if this is anything like slice the cake im gonna hate it

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ah yes, I certainly remember you not being a fan of that. I believe you've reminded us quite a few times by now.

Demon of the Fall
August 16th 2019


12411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Currently this is the 2nd greatest 'DM-ish' album of all time after Symboic, according to the averages, haha (I've excluded Opeth for obvious reasons). Something tells me it won't stay there when it gets a bit more attention. I'm still intrigued nonetheless.

Digging: Cara Neir - Part III / Part IV

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Prediction: 3.9 average after the rest of Sput jumps on board.

Demon of the Fall
August 16th 2019


12411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Which would still be insane for anything approaching Deathcore, if I'm not mistaken.

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2019


3506 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

... for realsies?

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Highest-rated deathcore on here is an award that I believe still belongs to Exoplanet. Not sure if there's an underground, obscure release somewhere that tops it.



Considering Exoplanet has hung around a 4.0 with over 1,000 ratings, I'd say the edge would go to that statistic.

Flugmorph
August 16th 2019


21509 Comments


another horrible album mention

not boding well for this

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 16th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm playing 'Flug's most-hated albums' bingo, how am I doing

Flugmorph
August 16th 2019


21509 Comments


on a 2 of 5 streak so far keep going fam

Demon of the Fall
August 16th 2019


12411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I detest Exoplanet. I'm still going to check this, plus a couple of other Deathcore releases from this year, because it's not a genre I've really delved into much.

Elynna
August 16th 2019


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I liked Reclaimer (possibly the only deathcore album I enjoyed), so will be checking this

Digging: Cult of Luna - A Dawn to Fear

LtBallsack
August 16th 2019


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

straight up this album is fire

Flugmorph
August 16th 2019


21509 Comments


okay jamming Embracing Nocturnal Damnation right now and its pretty tight

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
August 16th 2019


3506 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

For the record, this is quite good for a first review.



There are a few grammatical errors and missing words that a good proof-read would fix up, but nothing too major. It's also a bit light on examples for how much is written here. Which tracks stand out, why? If they're all comparable in terms of quality, how do they compliment or contrast with each other? Do the songs sound better in isolation or in the context of the album? Can you make any stylistic comparisons to other bands of this ilk, etc?



Only head-scratching moment I noted was the comment about the apparent "discovery" of a link between anti-depressants and suicide, which struck me as quite contentious, especially given you don't really expand on or justify it. If this was simply an explanation of the album/song's subject matter, independent of your own beliefs, perhaps it's best to clarify that one. The segue from that topic into the Fleshgod-esque orchestration is also very abrupt, and I would definitely put a transitional sentence or two in there, or just put the last few in a separate paragraph entirely.



Otherwise, I appreciate the depth you went into in justifying your score, pos.



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