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“…the final days are coming, I think you’d better hide…”
Jacket-wise, Shadow of a Time to Be is in the image of an ‘80s release right down to the handcrafted, handwritten fold out insert, but what’s grooved here is a half-full (optimistic?) bottle of fairly typical tech-thrash that’s just sailing down from its second wind. Basically, the band’s sole donation to the scene is a low voltage idea that seared on the brainpan a little too long, but has a nervous system that’s fueled up and refuses to shut down. It’s like a well-intentioned, spirited writer whipping out overdone plots with characters we’ve all seen before. They could have worse problems, though. They could be running on fumes, or simply have no energy at all.
Okay, because it’s come in during the game’s late innings (though their ’88 demo with Captain Caveman on the cover disproves their newness to the scene), this second generation Brazilian product has soaked more specialized Bay Area saline into its skin than their own usual country-bound, unhinged fallout...much more, in fact - it’s the Bay Area's capital power in full motion, and to have manually filtered out its influence after the corners of the world stewed in it all those wonderful years would’ve been an uncanny, strenuous task that's not very possible, if you want an honest opinion.
The main course is often rhythmically, though happier, Testament-al, or at least thinner yet more mobile Xentrix, mostly up-tempo with a root of optimism growing above ground to be stepped over - it’d be absurd if you tripped on it because you didn’t see it. Speed detonates here and there without mindless atrocity, like in the wordless “Within” and final puzzle piece “Nazi Hunter”, but this seven-songer’s moral majority is pretty content careening like the San Francisco sleigh ride that it is. Like the lp’s spirit, musicianship is tight, crisp and fairly bassy even if the rhythmic abstraction isn’t all that abstract, and guitarist Eduardo seems to know his fretboard better than his waffle iron, always a plus. Their fairly aggressive backing vocals sometimes boast a debut Death Angel force, yelling out in opener “Time Bomb” and “Warning”’s kinda goofy, spoken word-ish forum.
There are, of course, minuses. Songs like “And Still You Can’t See” and “Brain Wash” demote the festivities with characterless demeanors bands like Horde of Torment, Wrath, and post-debut Viking live with, that emanation of instructional league metal that stands out like a fresh, fight-lost black eye. Luis's shouty, hardcore-strung vocals (see: “Razor in Your Back”, “Warning” – blech!) can (and do) wash these tracks more amateurish and unrefined than deserved, shamefully much like the entourage of sour-tasting thrash demos that gave my mailman a hernia in the early ‘90s. C’mon guys, couldn’t Luis have taken a hike?
Shadow of a Time to Be leaves me kinda…whatever. Wasn’t missed prior to finding it and won’t be missed by many who haven’t heard it (unless you’ve heard very little tech-thrash).
Co-produced by Sepultura’s Andreas Kisser.