Shadow Of Intent
Melancholy


3.0
good

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (291 Reviews)
August 19th, 2019 | 324 replies


Release Date: 08/16/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All good intentions…

I’m going to be completely open and honest here... I wasn’t going to write this review. I mean, I’m one of those guys who would readily admit there’s near nothing interesting coming out of deathcore lately, finding vague merit in any argument loosely labelled “deathcore is dead”. Melancholy, from U.S. born Shadow Of Intent however, raises it’s arguments against that particular point of view. I’d have to agree with them, but while they’re the first to provide any measurable new interest in deathcore (in recent memory) as a whole Melancholy fails to build on the incredible potential on offer. Instead, Shadow Of Intent mash together an album filled with as many highs as there are lows, misfiring in the face of innovation. Let’s be clear here, this isn’t a bad album by any means, but it's a medley of sound that throws all its proverbial eggs into one basket with devastating result. To summarize, Shadow Of Intent showcases immense potential on the group’s third studio effort, but fails to achieve anything but a mixed bag in terms of overall quality. Largely, Melancholy isn’t worth the collective sum of all its parts put together. It’s shock, but without the awe to back it up.

That sounds quite critical to be honest, but it’s not all bad news. In dropping the outlandish Halo themes found in both the debut and sophomore Melancholy is allowed some organic breathing room, resulting in a more immersive, real-world theme for the listener. Unless of course you can relate to alien warfare on a synthetic planet dressed in some completely unflattering body armour? But it’s the symphonic elements that are most noticeable throughout Melancholy’s fifty-two minute run-time. Graceful notes bleed into a cinematic Dimmu meets Fleshgod styled death onslaught to which the title track opens this record. Now melding symphonic elements into death metal isn’t exactly a new, revolutionary feature - but it’s on the less-heard-of side as far as deathcore goes. It’s industrious and at times hauntingly monolithic (see the introduction and the floating atmosphere of “Gravesinger”) while occasionally lends itself to unfortunate, bleeding over top nuances. Melancholy becomes more aesthetically pleasing when it offers these features up in simplicity. “Gravesinger”’s solo fits well into this example. Classic techniques into a well-tuned solo gives the track (and album) a better dynamic range that showcases both instrumental talent and occasionally well placed ideas. The better moments of this record come from a diminishing “core” sound, focusing more on sympho-laced death metal and their conceptual journey found in the album’s footnotes.

At fifty-two minutes, Melancholy feels longer than it should and the album’s ‘good ideas’ start appearing further apart and have less impact. Some of those ideas that may have gotten a free pass on a first listen become glaringly obvious. The quasi-clean yells of “Oudenophobia” (and others) become grating, forced and painful to hear, lacking the emotive nuances needed to relate them to the story and listener. “Barren and Breathless Macrocosm” unfortunately feels like filler, laid out just to have Trevor Strnad showcase some signature screams. The featured track/artist is a nice touch but Melancholy would actually be [slightly] better off if “Barren and Breathless Macrocosm” was cut from the album. It’s an easy conclusion to come by once the insatiable grooves of “Under A Sullen Moon” swelter in. “Embracing Nocturnal Damnation” unfortunately falls into the same numbing category as “Barren and Breathless Macrocosm” saved only by its rapid delivery, climaxing end and rather short track length (especially when compared to the ten minute instrumental show-stopper “The Dreaded Mystic Abyss”).

Musically, these guys can clearly play. Any amounts of sweeps, blasts and riffs affirm this and production wise, Melancholy is almost sublime. The issue with being so full-on all the time, coupled with some incredibly over-the-top symphonic elements is sound saturation. It’s too much. Yes, you can hear the bass, but it's become one with the punch of a guitar riff rather than the supportive one-two that helps bring atmosphere and music together. In places, the Dimmu/Fleshgod nuances the album uses as its backbone become sterile in their tendency to come too forward in the mix. An inclination of ‘less is more’ would’ve seen accolades in the place of superabundance. These may be small gripes in the ears of a subjective listener, but for anyone else they are degrading flaws, capable of railroading an album.

“The Dreaded Mystic Abyss” is, however, Melancholy’s saving grace. Thinking pensively, I’d be interested to know just how good this track would be with the inclusion of Ben Duerr’s vocal range (bar the sub-par cleans). It’s this track that showcases just how much potential Shadow Of Intent actually has just waiting in the wings. It’s progressive, technically proficient and steers away from the general trappings of deathcore. Had this record been fifty-two minutes of like-“The Dreaded Mystic Abyss”, Melancholy might actually be worth the hype that surrounds it - and frankly, it’s this track that should’ve closed the album’s story. Overall it’s of little surprise that Melancholy is getting a high level of attention. Deathcore fans have been waiting for a resurrection of life for quite some time now. Shadow Of Intent are right on the cusp, they’ve just got to learn how to harness their ideas into a more cohesive, less saturated approach. Shadow Of Intent has all the potential to become a premiere death metal powerhouse, as long as they aren’t readily over-hyped in the meantime.



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user ratings (304)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Tristan Matheny (5)
An Epic Transcendent Merging of Beauty, Technicality, and Aggression. Shadow of Intent Deliver What ...

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

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Reviews written in the face of hype are not normally a good idea. That being said I think I did okay with this.



link for the listening:

https://shadowofintent7.bandcamp.com/



This is a 2.75/5

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


7999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good write up, still excited to give this a listen ASAP

Digging: Blood Cultures - Oh Uncertainty! A Universe Despairs

po0ty
August 19th 2019


616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well we clearly have different tastes if you rated new KSE higher than this





As for the review "I’m going to open and honest here.."



Also not sure "technically adverse" is the correct phrase given the context?

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Your 'to-listen' to list must be pretty sizable. What are you compensating for I wonder? Hmm

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks pooty, caught that while trying to get my strikethrough bb code to work. ANy ideas??



As for rating KsE higher than this. It is, slightly and for completely different reasons.

po0ty
August 19th 2019


616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I thought you might be going for adept but proficient works too



Also, on a minor note I believe it was the guitarist Chris Wiseman doing the 'cleans' on this, which I'll agree are one of the few negatives for me on this. He's also the guitarist for Currents and was saying on instagram he thought this would be the last SoI album but the positive response has changed his mind.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I believe it was the guitarist Chris Wiseman doing the 'cleans' on this




Everything I've read has led in context of who did what to Ben doing cleans as well. I'm happy to be corrected if that's the case and can change my review accordingly.

SteakByrnes
August 19th 2019


15725 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"I’m going to open and honest here"



What are you opening sir

Digging: Speech Patterns - Without a Sound

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


7999 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I definitely wasn’t blown away by this or anything

The instrumental is incredible tho

po0ty
August 19th 2019


616 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I could certainly be wrong too, it was just based on his instagram post where he says it was his "first time singing on 6 tracks in one record

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


10194 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What are you opening sir




what would you like me to open mr. *twists foot on the ground nervously*

Durrzo
August 19th 2019


1874 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Chris does the almost-but-not-quite cleans. Ben tried some singing on their first album and it was really bad lol. He's stuck to purely harsh vocals since.

I don't agree with a lot of your views on the album but hey, that's music. Review is good.

One of your main complaints does seem to be summed by "excess" which is kind of a funny critique in this genre. It's supposed to be bananas and over the top and that's the reason a lot of people embrace it, and this genre in general.

TundraL5Z
August 19th 2019


3149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"The quasi-clean yells become grating and painful to hear"

YOU're PAINFUL TO HEAR!!! OOOooooOOOHH

Nah jk, I mean the review is fine, but I do not agree with anything in the slightest, it's just an epic deathcore album, let it be grand and epic and kewl br0 (not being serious)

Wicker
August 19th 2019


82 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

4.3 avarage, lmao, stop the earth

this is just an avarage death metal release, why?

1) nothing new or original

2) Serious lack of riffs

3) The most boring drumming 2019, compare drumming from the new album to Reclaimer drumming

4) The quasi-clean yells become grating and painful to hear

Great review though



Demon of the Fall
August 19th 2019


12411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree with some of the points in the review, maybe I'm not completely crazy after all. I understand the 'maximal' approach to production here, but it's still a little over-bearing. The drums don't sound great in particular. I also noticed the off-putting 'quasi-cleans'. Not sold on the symphonic elements within the context of an album like this either.



It's certainly not the worst thing I've ever heard, but not sure it's for me.

Digging: Cara Neir - Part III / Part IV

Pikazilla
August 19th 2019


3429 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, the symphonics somewhat ruin the experience. This is like Dimmu Borgir for deathcore kids. And that's not a compliment.



I actually like the vocals though. I think they are the best part of this whole shtick.

XfingTheSullen
August 19th 2019


4429 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Holy shit this is 4.3? Damn

Demon of the Fall
August 19th 2019


12411 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Harsh vox are fine for the most part. I don't actually mind symphonic elements in heavier music, they just don't feel very well integrated here - guess melodic and/or symphonic-prog-core may not be my thing. Which is strange, as a completely over-the-top symphonic prog-death album (that happens to be called 'Core') is one of my absolute favourites.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 19th 2019


10117 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Which is strange, as a completely over-the-top symphonic prog-death album (that happens to be called 'Core') is one of my absolute favourites."



Ah, a man of culture I see.

Digging: WRVTH - No Rising Sun

Sinternet
August 19th 2019


20286 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

'4.3 avarage, lmao, stop the earth



this is just an avarage death metal release, why?



1) nothing new or original



2) Serious lack of riffs



3) The most boring drumming 2019, compare drumming from the new album to Reclaimer drumming



4) The quasi-clean yells become grating and painful to hear



Great review though '



favorite bands

Slice The Cake. Infant Annihilator,



says all you need to know

Digging: Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell



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