Review: SHADOW IN THE DARKNESS “Erstwhile Befell” [Sliptrick Records]

Review: SHADOW IN THE DARKNESS “Erstwhile Befell” [Sliptrick Records]

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Young but perspective Greeks Shadow In The Darkness released in May their debut album “Erstwhile Befell”. Earlier their released a couple of singles, to tease the listeners with innovative and high-quality death metal. It’s not primitive death metal, everything here is based on technical structure, not to mention constant changes of mood and rhythm, interspersed with electronic and space influence. The Greeks really surprised the extreme scene with strong and experimental material.

The most part of the album is furiously fast with a strong resemblance to thrash metal of 1980s. But still, “Erstwhile Befell” is very melodic, though there is nothing referring to melodic death metal genre, it is solid technical death metal release, and melodic vibes create harmony and integrity. There’s no need to question the skills of musicians, every one of them manages to display technicality and even originality.

The album is full of beautiful short guitar solos, not as long as in the classic heavy metal, but for death metal it’s quite noticeable. And acoustic passages sound almost romantic. Dissonant broken guitar riffs and chords (like in “Interdisciplinary Sectarianism”) purposefully enhance the heaviness, on the other hand, the accented melodiousness has an opposite effect (like in the song “21”). The symphonic parts and cosmic atmosphere truly make this record artistic and striking (and sometimes is similar to the unique vision of technical death pioneers Cynic).

The use of keyboards is moderate, more based on background principle, the synths rather emphasize the atmospheric darkness and make the death metal easier to embrace. In some sense they make the music more futuristic (even the lyrics of the song “The Deontology Of An Android” are based on science fiction). The synthesizers are presented on every song, but thanks to their skillful and unobtrusive use, they don’t ruin the death metal core, but create more original and sophisticated background, so the music of Shadow In The Darkness teeters on the brink of avant-garde.

The singer Kostas Xymos shows the different range of extreme vocals and does it with emotions and vigor, but no surprises there. The aggression, melodic parts and symphonic elements are mixed here without creating a mess. Everything is appropriated, the music is original and fresh, especially for such an orthodox genre as death metal, but there’s plenty of progressive elements to consider this record as old school death metal.

The structure of the songs isn’t easy to perceive, so doubtless, that the songs will run through the mind. But that’s a common thing with experimental music, there’s not enough superficial listening to grasp the concept and dig deep into hundreds of suggested possibilities, which provides this kind of music.

Release date: May 19th, 2020

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