Review Summary: A building process.
Shadow of Intent are a primal titan of bone crushing, skin rending, breakdown-laden deathcore. Scoff as you may at the proposed notion that SOI are amongst the most aurally heavy things out there (setting aside the sounds of star fusions, galaxy collapsing black holes, and the collision of joeysworldtour jumping down a flight of stairs), but with gutturals that sound like the snarls of the three-headed cerberus, breakdowns that could level the Burj Khalifa and meaty blasts that operate faster than a swarm of middle aged no-lifes storming Wal-Mart on a Black Friday sale, there is no denying that this band is pretty gosh darn heavy.
However that was never really the question, and with that in mind perhaps the hyperbole is unnecessary. From their not-so-modest beginning of Primordial
they have always exemplified the bulldozing traits of good deathcore, with their own symphonic tendencies serving as a method of boosted catharsis. This core sound traces its way through their discography, and for this reason the familiarity is always there. What the band has done in this time is improve from a compositional perspective-utilizing greater melodies to give an ultimately cataclysmic record a slight
amount of breathing room. Let's take the juxtaposition of "Intensified Genocide" leading into "Life of Exile". The former caps off with a choppy, unfathomably hefty
breakdown, whilst the intro of the latter creeps in with serene, almost loving symphonies. It would almost feel like a warm hug from a tender forest druid, if not for the mournful gutturals that pierce sharply from above.
This is something that both Elegy
and the former Melancholy
share with each other. There is a subtle introduction of moods introduced that are something a little beyond the caveman ideology of "brutal", even if neither record ditches the excess meaty breakdowns that define the genre. "Where Millions Have Come to Die", with a well-deserved Phil Bozeman feature, ends with a trawling sludgy "DJUN" (deeply grin-inducing to many core-brethren and the bane of many others listening habits), while "From Ruin...We Rise" starts with sweeping seraphical piano work. Once again these evolved traits rear their head, and once again the core thread traces its way back through. In this way the band never changes, but rather compounds gradually upon itself into something ever-so-slightly greater.
What is an elegy? It is a swansong, a writ to be read as one exhales their last breath. It is something both grim and beautiful, as it encapsulates one's grievances and tribulations in the face of accepting their fate. It is with sweeping grandeur that Shadow of Intent have crafted a work that embodies this word, even if it proves simultaneously that they are not yet writing theirs. The creative fires still burn brightly, and there remains nothing in sight to snuff them out. Until then may they riff, may the blast, may they screm. Godspeed to them