Review Summary: Shadow of Intent continues to be a hit or miss band for me. They still represent much of the problems of deathcore and symphonic metal, albeit not nearly as bad as their former two albums. Despite the mediocrity; "The Dreaded Mystic Abyss" shows promise a
Shadow of Intent have been a hit or miss band since their inception, and I just happen to consider them a miss. The band as a whole personally embodies everything I find wrong with symphonic metal. For being considered one of the more underrated deathcore artists, I expected much better from this band when I first listened to them. Not only do they do symphonics injustice, they rarely do anything enticing to warrant making a 50+ minute deathcore album. Nothing exquisite done instrumentally, nor are the vocals really all that amazing like Ben tries to say they are. Enter Melancholy, and I decided to give this band another shot. After all, some bands improve over time. I was quite hopeful Shadow of Intent would be one of these bands. Deathcore has been rather inconsistent for many years. Lacking much charm or interesting songwriting. It's been more or less stuck in 2008 for 11 years now.
The entire runtime is spent being bland deathcore in a scene that is already a junkyard of subpar guitars and bland song structures. There is almost no semblance of technicality or progressiveness that this band seems to be associated with. Melancholy is made even worse by unfitting symphonic elements that don't contribute to the music in any meaningful manner. It just seems like they'd be better of not including them. Where almost everything I have mentioned so far has just been generic, the vocals are awful. Ben tries to mimic Travis Ryan a few times and doesn't do that good of a job. His vocals seem to change sporadically throughout the album and it just doesn't sound very good. If you're going to do a bunch of different vocal styles, please do it reasonably rather than sounding like you're freestyling it. I guess this is technical because of Ben being super inconsistent with his vocal style? I'd love to do a track analysis, but they all sound quite similar, in a way that they just all kind of blend together. To Shadow of Intent's credit at least; deathcore has a history of not executing symphonics correctly. Take artists like Winds of Plague and Make Them Suffer. Granted, Shadow of Intent is certainly more memorable than they are; but still. One standout track though. The 10 minute track "The Dreaded Mystic Abyss". Absent of the annoying symphonics and Ben Duerr; this band seems to be a fairly decent band instrumentally! I actually bumped this album up a half star just because of it. Exact proof on my hypothesis that they'd be better if they ditched Ben and the boring symphonics. Too bad this might never happen at this point.
Deathcore, alike many other metal genres, is in need of a new decade for new innovation and pioneers. As for as most as 20 years we've seen the same tired concepts done over and over. Deathcore has been trying to go in a new direction with artists such as Carnifex turning towards more riff-based deathcore and Lorna Shore trying to push boundaries with the genre by incorporating more black metal-inspired aesthetic. Though with albums like Melancholy being pumped out, my morale with deathcore is rather... melancholic; no pun intended. It could just be I don't get these albums at all. Despite all my harsh critique of Shadow of Intent; I am sure many will enjoy this for what its worth. If you like deathcore and don't care about overdone or out of place symphonics, you should try this album! Fans of Shadow of Intent will most likely be satisfied by this aswell. Don't take my distaste for most deathcore seriously. I am simply a fan of more guitar-oriented metal and deathcore just isn't that most of the time. So essentially, this album is just not for me.