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Emotionless - 47%

Felix 1666, December 5th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2003, Black Lotus Records

Enshadowed published their second album just one year after the solid debut. One could think that this short period implies musical continuity. But precisely the opposite was the case. The multifarious band had realigned its strategy and did not emulate the Northern black metal role models any longer. Unfortunately, their compositional approach changed for the worse.

Americanized death metal awaited me after the useless intro, but I did not receive a warm welcome. Blast beats and ordinary deep growling failed to create anything special. This failure was aggravated by the fact that the single parts of "Sunya-Bindu", the first song after the short intro, did not fit together. Finally, the guitars were subjugated by the blast beats I have mentioned before. As a result, the guitars completely lacked of power during the numerous fast sequences. I had hoped that this opening track marked merely a slip-up, but this hope was deceptive. "Sunya-Bindu" can be considered as a representative piece - and this means that the album came as a complete disappointment. Enshadowed randomly combined single parts without keeping an eye on the songs themselves. Maybe some purists will slobber that this kind of death metal has to be cumbersome, inaccessible and disharmonic as hell. But sorry, this approach does not match with my understanding of comprehensible music.

In order to provide you with a point of reference, the basic direction of "Intensity" reminds me of mediocre bands like Brutality. As far as I remember, this US-American death metal adorer have also never delivered remarkable tunes. Admittedly, they performed their type of extreme metal without showing technical deficits. But in terms of music, technology is definitely not the crucial thing. Emotion or atmosphere - this is the name of the game. Enshadowed did not seem to be aware of this obvious fact, for whatever reason.

The songs got slightly better during the second half of the album. One or the other moment was relatively convincing, for example the riff at the beginning of "Horrenda Nox" due to its noteworthy sharpness. The same applied to the calm break in the middle of the song. But the guys delivered too little, too late in order to place the full-length on a solid level. Furthermore, the band was not immune to moronic decisions. Honestly, I see absolutely no reason why the metallic fury of "Requiem of Hatred" was interrupted by an incoherent and overlong keyboard intermezzo. The synthetic part killed the power of the song. This was a pity, because its beginning was characterised by a promising morbid riff. A useless outro closed the circle.

The name of the album was misleading. Although its production met the standard, "Intensity" failed to be intensive. It was flat and emotionless. But, by the irony of fate, their next record offered very intensive music. Nevertheless, you can leave the here presented output unnoticed.

Intensity, sure, but little else - 67%

autothrall, August 11th, 2011

After their debut Messengers of the Darkest Dawn came and went with little attention against the vast European landscape of samey sounding black metal artists, Greeks Enshadowed decided on a change-up to their approach. Not only by adding color to the cover art, but also morphing into an evenly distributed hybrid of the death and black metal genres. Intensity still features the band's penchant for blazing rhythms, blast beats and harsh snarling, but here they have measured it off against brutal semi-tech chug riffing and a prevalent guttural drawl. So, not only will you hear the influence of the usual suspects like Marduk, Emperor and Enthroned, but also a bluster of 21st century Polish death like Behemoth or Vader.

There's no denying that this makes for a more curious and compelling range of dynamics, but unfortunately there are very few memorable moments on the sophomore to capitalize on their newfound musical breadth. Each of the tracks here has at least one exciting sequence, like the Morbid Angel style lead explosion in "Mental Irruption" (around the 4 minute mark) or the brick hurling post-Slayer acceleration after the opening riff of "Obvious Inexistence". Or the writhing and crushing whirlwinds invoked in "Horrenda Nox" or "Purity's Failure". But, try as they might, I always had the feeling that they were right on the threshold of excellence, and never quite capable of following it through. They build these brisk, brutal passages and then never seem to engage in anything climactic to top them off.

It's not for lack of competence, for the drums and guitars are maniacal, and while they often tend towards monotony, the vocals are functional and the splitting of the black/death metal axis does serve to reduce any possible predictability. The production here is also monstrous, far cleaner than the debut album with a thick, plucking bass tone and polished guitars. Intensity might be the sort of thing you're chasing if you dig Polish bands like Behemoth or Hate, who have straddled both the black and death genres, 'blackened death metal' or whatever the shit people call it. It's a fairly unbridled display of force. And yet, there is so little to come back to here, as the concept of subtlety and truly memorable riffing seems to evade its grasp.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com