Knights of The Abyss – Shades

Band: Knights of The Abyss
Album: Shades
Genre: Death Metal
Label: Ferret

1. Banished
2. A New Darkened Faith
3. Whorror Storm
4. Don’t Feed the Heathens
5. Running Out Of Earthly Wealth
6. Feeling Faint
7. Dis Unveiled
8. The Penalty of The Tyrant
9. Suicide Reign
10. Bound By Heresy
11. Exploitation
12. Behold The Frigid Realm of Div

When I receive Shades by Knights of the Abyss in my metaphorical mailbox (James just hands stuff to me), my first thought was that it would be awful because an ex job for a cowboy member was involved. After listening to the cd though, it became quite evident that this was not a terrible album. In fact, I dare say, it’s quite alright.

Shades starts out with a 50 some second intro track that has a talking not unlike The Acacia Strain’s “Smoke Ya Later”. I’m a big fan of that effect, so a good start to an album in my books. However, the first complaint I have with the album comes shortly after with the transition transition to the second. It’s supposed to be a seamless “oh hey, are we on a new song,” kind of thing, but the levels get abruptly louder as soon as it switches to, “A New Darkened Faith.”

I enjoyed the third track, “Whorror Storm,” due to it’s straight ahead approach to deathcore. Like most of this cd it’s pretty by the books for this genre, but that’s not really a complaint. The key is that the drum work on this song is very technical and tight. There’s a killer guitar solo as well about halfway through, and we even get some pinch harmonic divebombs in the the background if you listen closely. This song mentions a “circle pit of hell” and let me tell you, it sounds like one. Epic moshing must ensue during their live performances.

“Running Out Of Earthly Wealth,” is probably my favorite track. It starts with a really awesome metal gallop kind of deal. The verse has a really nice fast guitar riff with a kind of progressive metal groove. This song really shows of the technical guitar work that this band has. The vocals are pretty mediocre. Nothing too special, just kind of middle of the road stuff there. There’s an awesome guitar solo near the end of the song, very 90’s death metal. The part that really caught me off guard is the interlude track after, “Running out of Earthly Wealth”. We get a WESTERN BREAK! Total dueling pistols thing going on. Easily the coolest interlude I’ve heard on an album in a very long time.

Knights of the Abyss’ Shades is a pretty decent album. I’m not going to proclaim this a masterpiece, but this is easily head and heels above the general competition. In a genre where every band sounds almost ridiculously similar, Knights finds ways to set themselves apart and that is key. If you dig deathcore/death metal/progressive metal/etc. you should check this out. Look for them on tour on the west coast in august.

*Written By: Justin Proper*
GRADE: 7/10

James Shotwell
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