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Latest Episode #45

Alan Averill

● Why no new anthems
● The recording stresses
● The real story of 'Storm Before Calm'
● "I wont play computer games with fans"

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Shrouded | ‘Ominous Divinity’

These boys have the kind of look about them that at the very least makes you want to hear their music.

Not something you get so much of these days to be honest.

Yes, the jauntily cocked hoods and bandanas round faces could come off as a little silly, but at least they’re a talking point.

It’s melodic death metal, but so much tougher sounding than that name has come to imply: with a gritty, perhaps overly maxxed-out production, detailed riffs and a pretty consistent hammering from the drums, it’s more Vomitory than Dark Tranquillity.

Yet there are shades of both.

It’s hard. Heavy. But considered and melodic while it’s at it.

Worked At

This stuff has been worked hard at. They aren’t so much attempting technical death metal as thoroughly sporting it, even at this early stage of their career. It’s the real thing, with nods toward Death, Sceptic, Sadus, Dismember, Sinister and so many more.

I said earlier that the production sounded maxxed-out. What I mean is that the guitars are saturated in a Skogsberg sound kind of way, while the snare occupies massive space right at the front of the mix. It pushes everything around it out of the airspace a bit, leaving a huge footprint on the rest of the mix, especially during the blastbeats.

That’s the opposite to how things usually are, with snares regularly lost at the high speeds; but perhaps just a nudge backward would have been useful to allow the great detail of the riffs a bit more headroom.

Dirty Bass

‘The Divine Lie’ is a riff straight from Sweden, complete with chunky, dirty bass breakdown (another factor in that maxxed sound – it ain’t clean) that resolves into a great ride cymbal headbanger.

Everything’s to be commended. The vocals are deep and boomy, Benton in style, while those rhythm guitars pitch through octaved, harmonied, closed and open riffs in an array of approaches that’s well managed and balanced.

They can do speed, and they can do slow, impressively on both counts.

One thing that niggles for guys of such clear talent however is the lead guitar. I cant really fathom some of the choices here – the leads sound absolutely divorced from the rest of what the band’s playing on almost all occasions, with the sweep picking seemingly unrelated to the main harmony at any given point.

It’s mystifying given the conspicuous tightness and efficiency of the the two players’ rhythm work. Anyway, they dont outstay their welcome, and you’re always back into the track proper in good order.

These songs have been written with live demolition in mind, clearly, and the mid pace of ‘Demon Of Winter’ is an exemplary lesson in how to deliver crunch at the slower end of the tempo. Nice little touches such as the rush of air halfway through the track are the details that make the difference.

So well done Shrouded. This is an accomplished, technical and brute heavy suite of songs that roars confidence and ability. Tracks like ‘Ocean Floor Burial’ bring me right back to ‘The Minds I’.

The songs are memorable and the weight is unarguable. So if they can just fix those eccentric solos a bit, I cant wait to hear more.

It’s no surprise they’ve scored a Bloodstock space. They should flatten the place.

4.1 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 08/08/17

  1. Love it! When’s the CD available?

  2. Black Shepherd Says:

    This is indeed the real deal.

  3. Black Shepherd Says:

    Not sure I get your point about the solos though CT: sounds like pretty coherent dissonant widdling to my ears. If I had an objection to make, it’s that a band with this serious a sound would maybe do well not to thank “Memes!” on their bandcamp page :/

  4. earl grey Says:

    I think its that first song that the solo niggles with me. Feels very divorced from the music.

  5. Really that production. Just slightly muddy and chaotic and glued together but obviously played well. Nice snare sound

  6. I know what you mean, but imagine them put through the likes of Trackmix. Would be lethal.

  7. DuckyDoodleFace Says:

    Sounds cool.

    Production reminds me of Theory in Practice’s “Third Eye Function”

  8. Maybe why I’m digging it so. Its the crispy guitar isnt it

  9. Roger Pedactor Says:

    “but imagine them put through the likes of Trackmix”

    Ehhh, just no. This sounds absolutely fine as is. Why send them to a generic studio that every other metal band here goes to and make them sound identical. Irelands answer to Morrisound.

  10. That’s equal part a bands problem, not just the studio.

    Trackmix have a superior clarity in their mixes. The style of the mix is up to whatever band to ensure.

  11. Roger Pedactor Says:

    The murkiness adds to this I think.

  12. In this case yes. But there is a question of balance there, particilarly in that snare.

  13. Inclined to agree with Earl Grey Re: Trackmix. Mick is a fantastic engineer, bands with similar sounds is more than likely down to a lack of direction within the band with regards to production and mix. I can confirm this 100% myself as I’ve been there multiple times. First time I went in, with little to no focus or idea what I was doing and ended up with a similar sound to alot of bands that go through the place. Second time was a whole other ballgame as we actually put some thought and planning in in advance with regards to what we wanted as an end product.

    Anyway, on topic, had a listen. Its cool and focused, wouldn’t be a fan of the vocals but thats just down to my own preference rather than any sort of short coming. Fair play.

  14. open face surgery Says:

    Was gonna quote the Trackmix line as well but Roger was in before me. Absolute rubbish. I think he has very little scope as far as individuality goes and the less of that the better.

    This wouldn’t be my bag but well played. Bang of Spawn of Possession off it to these ears.

  15. Eoin McLove Says:

    Same as that. You can’t fault it on any level, it’s well played and sounds well recorded. I’d suggest to the singer to maybe try to get a bit more feeling into his grunts and growls. He has a heavy delivery but that monotone style loses impact pretty quickly. Check out the growls in Mourning Beloveth, as a good example. It sounds abrasive as hell but it doing with emotion, which might seem like an oxymoron in terms of DM vocals.

  16. Eoin McLove Says:

    *it’s delivered with emotion

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