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Overhyped, Overrated garbage - 10%

BoneBoyJack, March 1st, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Independent (Digipak)

Shadow of Intent is quickly becoming a huge name in core infused metal, with their latest release getting major attention all over the internet. A Halo themed symphonic deathcore band? Sounds like it could be fantastic if done well! So needless to say, I took a few hours and listened to their discography consisting of an EP and two LPs. All of which are unfortunately dreadful.

Most of all the worship of this band seems to be directed at the vocals in particular, which are actually half decent by deathcore standards, but sadly they are so obnoxiously high in the mix that it drowns out all the other instruments, a common problem with modern core music. This brings me to my biggest complaint with the album. The production is just absolutely trash. This has to be one of the most badly produced albums I have ever heard. The guitars are so plastic sounding that I am almost glad they are buried in the mix. The drums sound like default Superior Drummer presets, and are even lower in the mix than the guitars. The bass suffers from being indistinguishable outside of breakdowns, as is a common problem with most deathcore. The symphonic keys are again, drowned out by the vocals. The entire album could very much have benefited from either a more natural sounding production, or working with someone who actually knows how to produce an album of this style.

Lets talk about the vocals since they seem to be the biggest highlight that people point out. They are huge and demonic sounding, but ultimately very boring and lifeless. There is no energy in them what so ever, with the aim largely seeming to be belting out as many words as possible in a monotone emotionless void as quickly as humanly possible. The guest vocals all range from pretty good (Dickie Allen) to mediocre (Tom Barber), but never stick around long enough to take away from how obnoxious the rest of the vocals sound.

The songwriting is boring, and often simply falls into technical guitar wankery for the sake of technical guitar wankery. There is nothing here that hasn't been done a thousand times before, and better, by someone else. The drums are poorly written and never have a moment to shine. Like I said earlier, the keys are probably the best part of the album, but its a shame its so difficult to make them out. The writing seems to emulate many other musicians and never seems to find its footing, trying hard to be so many different things at once that it fails to succeed at any one aspect. Every song swings rapidly between breakneck speed, technical guitar work, "brutal" slow sections, and synth laden breaks, never once being effectively written in any form.

Originality isn't everything though, and with better production, this album would simply be another halfway decent technical/symphonic deathcore album. Its so bogged down by the awful production though, that I simply can't recommend this (or any release by Shadow of Intent) to anyone.