Release DetailsLABEL Tribunal
RELEASED ON 5/8/2007
From The Shallows
Beyond The Unknown
posted on 7/2007 By:
Attempting to describe the qualities that set Toledo, Ohio’s From The Shallows apart from their thrashy, death-tinged hardcore counterparts isn’t easy. Like many newer bands of this ilk, this quintet focus more on the death metal aspects rather than immerse themselves in endless breakdowns, which is beginning to become more of the norm than the exception. You can pretty much toss originality out the window right from the start, so with that point aside, Beyond The Unknown is a decent, and occasionally highly impressive EP that gives a pretty clear insight as to what these guys are all about.
What strikes me hardest about this disc is how the songwriting has a cool sort of individuality about it almost from the start while really breaking no new ground in general, but still sticking around for a while in my head after it‘s done playing. Instead of stockpiling safe and almost expected riffs, From The Shallows appear to have actually spent a little time and effort into putting together some really good songs rather than just hammer away through blast/breakdown/blast drivel. When the tide turns into waves of aggressive death metal, they brush a little bit of black metal along with it not too dissimilar to what The Black Dahlia Murder also do (and no surprise, considering their pedigree), but whereas TBDM kinda’ make me laugh more than anything, FTS don’t sound like anything to chuckle about.
Even though the band has a talent for throwing together some infectious riffs with seeming ease, there are some parts that do fit the blueprint rather closely to the vest in moderation: there are breakdowns, an occasional shout-along, plenty of pinch harmonics placed at the end of certain riff conclusions, rare pig belches, the almost mandatory acoustic interlude, and so on. Luckily, they keep the failsafe gallops down to a minimum overall and take their time with a nice slow, lumbering groove (“Chalice Of Mankind”) to open a highlight track with multiple, yet cohesive time changes. The vocals are fairly even-keeled through the entire EP, a higher midranged rasp, with a deeper growled counterpart, and the lack of variety really isn’t too much of a hindrance in this instance. I must make mention of the leads here, for even though we do have to wade through a couple sweep exercises, most of the leads and melodies that weave among the stiff staccato riffs are quite creative and fresh, without jumping into too much wankery.
“Entities Beheading” is my favorite tune on this disc, with a really intriguing mellow riff starting around the one-minute mark that sounds almost like a reflection of the loping rhythms their former label mates Daylight Dies sometimes delve into. There is also a short blast that quickly follows and makes way for the best lead on the album as it falls along atop an almost gloomy, dejected chugging riff. Cool stuff, and it makes me curious as to what lies ahead for this unexpectedly impressive young band, who would probably sound great in concert along with Gabriel’s Path, and Antagonist. They don’t really stand out too far yet, but From The Shallows are definitely worth checking out if you’re into this type of modernized, Americanized black/death-leaning metalcore, and it‘ll be interesting to hear what comes next.
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