One Last Breath
posted on 1/2006 By:
What to say about this album? Indeed, is there anything even worth saying at all about it? This is my second exposure to Gomek Records, and like previously-reviewed labelmates Angerstrike, Burnt Shadows fall somewhere within the general ‘metalcore’ spectrum. I say “somewhere within” rather than naming any specific style because, frankly, this shit is bland enough that it doesn’t really warrant a comparison to any particular band. One Last Breath is kinda thrashy, kinda ‘core-inflected and kinda death metal. Like many young bands, Burnt Shadows doom themselves by erring on the side of convention and simply refuse to take any risks whatsoever. Understand that there’s not necessarily anything wrong with working within given stylistic parameters, but in order to do so successfully, a band’s gotta have some goddamn dangerous riffing capabilities, and these guys, well…not so much.
Loathe though I am to start slinging names around, I know that the hoi polloi of the readership out there are entirely dependent on comparisons, so I’ll do what I can. The majority of the music on this album could’ve been written by All Out War, or Lamb of God, or Burnt By the Sun, or Himsa, or…well, hell, it sounds like the basic premises behind all those bands (and undoubtedly others who operate under the same ‘let’s mix metal and hardcore, heavy on the metal please’ paradigm) melted down and stirred together until you’re left with an amorphous grey mess. Burnt Shadows go from kick-drum groove to thrash to the occasional blast, and back, and around, and what have you with little regard for memorable structure. They seem to have failed to grasp the fact that in order to pull off this kind of freeform riffing, you’ve gotta have hooks and quirks jammed in there to prevent a monotony of palm mutes and tremolo picking. No matter how many times I listen to One Last Breath, I forget virtually the entire EP as soon as it concludes (the ominous intro riff to “Release the Dogs” being a notable example).
I guess if you’re in really, really desperate need for a serving of chuggas, pinched harmonics, and Randy Blythe-styled vox, you might give One Last Breath a go-round. The band is adequately tight, the production is muffled but not atrocious, and the riffing is technically competent but incredibly dull. Gomek Records has thoughtfully made the entire ball of wax available for free on their site, so it likely won’t come at any great cost to you. Still and all, my opinion on the matter is that you can do better for yourself with virtually any of the better-known hybrid-metal bands around.
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