Shadow Of Intent - Melancholy review

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Band: Shadow Of Intent
Album: Melancholy
Release date: August 2019

Disc I
01. Melancholy
02. Gravesinger
03. Barren And Breathless Macrocosm [feat. Trevor Strnad]
04. Underneath A Sullen Moon
05. Oudenophobia
06. Embracing Nocturnal Damnation
07. Dirge Of The Void
08. Chthonic Odyssey
09. The Dreaded Mystic Abyss
10. Malediction

Disc II [Melancholy (Instrumentals)]
01. Melancholy [instrumental version]
02. Gravesinger [instrumental version]
03. Barren And Breathless Macrocosm [instrumental version]
04. Underneath A Sullen Moon [instrumental version]
05. Oudenophobia [instrumental version]
06. Embracing Nocturnal Damnation [instrumental version]
07. Dirge Of The Void [instrumental version]
08. Chthonic Odyssey [instrumental version]
09. The Dreaded Mystic Abyss [instrumental version]
10. Malediction [instrumental version]

Out of all the deathcore releases this year, of course it's the epic bombastic cheesy symphonic one that gets all the attention. And what a hypocrite am I to complain, considering that out of all of those, I'm also only reviewing this one.

I'm reviewing it not only because of how much hype it got, or because they were announced to a festival I might go to next year, but also because it's quite good. Not as good as some other deathcore releases this year, but as symphonic and cheesy as it is, a comparison with Dimmu Borgir is more worthy. In which case, saying it's better than Eonian isn't such a high bar anyway. A much higher bar would be comparing it to the previous two Shadow Of Intent albums, in which case, yeah, it is the best Shadow Of Intent album, but not by too high a margin. Alright enough of the needless comparisons and rankings, let's talk about the music itself.

I'm pretty sure I already made my point that the music here is bombastic and cheesy, so I won't beat a dead horse. The band is taking a sound already made quite popular by Septicflesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse, that mix of brutal metal and epic orchestration, or even Make Them Suffer, who already blended that with deathcore, so on paper Melancholy isn't something unheard of. But this time the symphonic elements do seem much closer to a Dimmu Borgir album and even the deathcore parts feel a lot stronger than on previous Shadow Of Intent albums, so even if the sound isn't entirely original (which sounds even are these days?) it still puts a little bit of effort into pushing the envelope.

The vocals are the thing I felt improved the most, feeling monstrous and colossal at their most brutal, and even the cleans do a nice job at adding a bit of texture to a pretty nicely textured deathcore album. And as much as I called this album cheesy, a lot of things could've been way more over the top than they already are, or approached in such a way that would make their inclusion feel jarring (like the clean vocals or the symphonic elements). Instead Melancholy somehow manages to channel the potential cheesiness of all these elements into something that is indeed quite enjoyable. It is clear that there was more thought put into writing the music than just "blast beats and BREEEs and breakdowns over MIDI synths", so that the entire album has some depth to it (the ten minute long instrumental opus "The Dreaded Mystic Abyss" is a testament to that). Might also have to do with Francesco Ferrini of Fleshgod Apocalypse lending a hand with the orchestrations. Speaking of lending hands, I somehow expected a bit more guest vocalists, as it is often the case with such core albums, but the only guest spot is from Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder. Not that I do mind, since each time I listen to this album I still don't pay enough attention to pinpoint his part.

Melancholy does have a lot of things that could drag it down, that could turn some people away from their music, but with so much acclaim for it, it's clear that they're doing something right. So much so that it's absolutely mind boggling to think that this is actually an independent release. All the more power to them in that case.


Written on 29.11.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 101 users
29.11.2019 - 14:47
Very solid stuff. And the vocals are indeed massive.

You got to love the cheese in this one.
02.12.2019 - 15:19
I always thought that calling a band who uses elements in their music, such as symphonic ones, cheesy for giving their music a more lifted or etheric feel is the height of metal head douchebaggery. People comparing this band to Septicflesh are incredibly off base, the structures are sooooo completely different. Septicflesh uses an actual orchestra arranged by someone who studied the art, not just keyboard frills, just to give one example. With such loose comparisons you could say this band was influenced by any band that uses guitar, bass, drums etc. This album indeed borrows heavily from modern Dimmu Borgirs symphonic style. I did enjoy this album but this band has a lot of maturing to do before they are truly masters in the genre. Droping the "core" from their "death" elements, I think, would help a lot in making a more foreboding atmosphere while shaking off that angsty teenager vibe that comes with hardcore bands.
15.01.2020 - 00:17
Tom Muller
Pretty cool stuff

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