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When you step up the game on a whole music genre - 100%

Sharkuel, July 15th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, Digital, Independent (Bandcamp)

Shadow of Intent is an particular case.

A band that was born due to a group of young, talented individuals that love to play Halo, and decided to create a band that would pay homage to the games, and books. Their first album was more centered in the lore of the books, and this album focuses itself more on the path the Arbiter has on Halo 2.

Like Soulmass, the Dark Souls lore based band, these fellows though like to play video games, they are quite talented individuals.

The first thing a person who listens SoI for the first time must have the impression that the vocalist must have a gate of hell connected to is throat, because Ben Duerr has one of the most versatile, harsh and yet perceptive vocals I ever listened in the genre. Though sometimes he can achieve both impressive low and high notes, you can understand the lyrics without reading them, and that's something that is quite impressive. He puts is soul into his vocal performance, and like the guitars, he shifts melodically between these notes, adding a whole new sound texture to the mix. And he is fairly young, and started his career by making covers into youtube. This kid will go to places. The only other vocalist that I can remember of who has the same melodic sensitivity is Dani Filth, and even he s quite dissonant, unlike Ben, who is evident that he takes the guitar work into consideration when exploiting his vocal range.

The guitar work here is absolutely stellar level. I mean, they are crushing, and yet have a neo-classical melodic approach as well. Sometimes they go in sync with the keyboards, and that adds an effect of full blown orchestration raging through. The solos are quite memorable as well, and are well put, fitting to the structure, and context, of the song it is part of. The keyboards add to the melodic aspect of the band, and also creates the atmosphere that fits the one created by Martin O'Donnel's own score created to the game. The piano sections are so wonderful, and how they blend with the guitars it shows some high level of composing skills. All of the musicians evolved are very talented musicians. And this is what it sets apart from the rest of the current deathcore scene. In the past they had programmed drums, and when they announced that they had found a drummer, I was kinda skeptical it would impact their sound. It didn't. As a matter of fact, the drumming is relentless. It is fast, heavy, pounding away with vicious blast beats, great and expressive tom fills and overall an impressive display of technique.

This album gives quite the feeling that you are on a journey alongside the Arbiter, with great emphasis on the Brutes/Prophets, and the emotions that are associated with such tumultuous trip. The mixing and mastering of the album is amazing, considering that they said they would handle the whole production by themselves. The instruments have their respective place and play their roles properly, and they know how to handle Ben's vocals, it has one awesome stereo specter that travels between the panoramic like an raging entity with the remaining orchestration behind it supporting it's charge towards the listener.

This group, in my opinion, thus stepped up the game when it comes to the deathcore genre. They added so much elements that are more common in brutal death metal, melodic and symphonic, and use these tools to create something their own. Considering that Suicide Silence was the "reference" to go to when it comes to deathcore, and even more their disastrous release of 2016, they just sweep into the action and made the stakes so high that the remaining cast of deathcore bands either step up their game, or get overshadowed by these young talents that, with their own merit alone, have established themselves within the scene.