Shadow of Intent
Elegy

January of 2020, specifically January 14th, was quite the day for deathcore. You had releases from Worm Shepherd, Fit For An Autopsy, Enterprise Earth, and a new Ingested single, as well as album number four from Connecticut’s Shadow of Intent, one of symphonic deathcore’s top bands

As with 2019s excellent Melancholy, which tackled mental health and depression, Shadow of Intent continues to move on from their Halo video game concepts they delivered on Reclaimer and Primordial (though I really miss that element, being a Halo fan myself- and hey there’s a whole new game to pull from guys…..), into real-world themes, this time tacking Ukrainian Genocide, war, and tragedy throughout history. And the band’s brand of dramatic heavily symphonic deathcore is a perfect delivery system for these themes.

Elegy comes out of the gate on absolute fucking fire with a trio of tracks, starting with absolutely blistering opener “Farewell”, which might be one of the year’s best tracks in both deathcore and symphonic deathcore, with a  stirring epic build (more on the keyboards later), and some furious blackened blasting that is simply awe-inspiring. “The Saurian King” is a bit more controlled but the interplay between melodic death metal riffage, thunderous grooves and the stirring keys is damn perfect. The dramatically intense “The Coming Fire” rounds out the opening trio with peaks an valleys of emotional, epic symphonics and blasts.

But after a few songs that indicate we could be in for an album of the year candidate (which it still may be for many), the album has a few minor missteps the rest of the way as the band spread their creative wings a bit. Similar to the recent Fit For An Autopsy and Enterprise Earth releases and even the upcoming The Last Ten Seconds of Life album, the band has been listening to newer Whitechapel (The Valley and Kin)  as mid and later stages of the album have more moody, brooding, and experimental moments including semi-clean vocals from vocalist ben Duerr (Whitechapel’s Phil Bozeman even shows up on “Where Millions Come to Die”), which is ironically one of the album’s more brutal tracks later in the album.

The bouncy and not very furious, “Of Fury” has a main riff and keys that are a bit too commercial for my tastes (Betraying the Martyrs came to mind, as well as for instrumental track “Reconquest”), though it does have a nice pre-chorus lope and the closing three tracks that comprise the “Elegy” suite, the main culprits, end the album on a bit of a dour note. And while I understand the grim themes and concepts require a more introspective note, why hamstring vocalist Ben Duerr, who has one of the more impressive bellows in the industry and make him semi sing  (or shout) in slower songs like “Life of Exile”, ” From Shadows…. We Rise” “Blood in the Sands of Time” and the aforementioned more commercial “Elegy” songs (though the third part “Overcome” has some nice, symphonic, blasting moments).

Luckily he still carries the more savage songs like the brutally melancholic  “Intensified Genocide”  and already mentioned, “Where Millions Come to Die”.  I mean it’s not whingy, Sumerian-core croons, but this band is just better when going for intense, sweeping, epic moments rather than more brooding, restrained ones. Just listen to the last cripplingly good minute and a half of “Blood in the Sands of Time”.

Along with Duerr (when growling), another ace on the hole for Shadow of Intent, as it was on Melancholy, are the additional keyboards of Francesco Ferrini of Fleshgod Apocalpyse who adds a much more film score level of orchestration and chorals to the proceedings, that some of their peers don’t quite have, I mean go back to the opener “Farewell”, just wow.

There’s enough killer, standout songs and moments for me to keep Elegy in steady rotation in 2022, though Worm Shepherd‘s Ritual Hymns is probably a slightly better, more consistent overall album that tops the #Deathcore day of January 14th, 2022.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
January 27th, 2022

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