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Album Reviews : Knights of the Abyss – Shades

By on August 5, 2008

By all recent accounts, the state of Arizona is leading a movement to pull extreme death metal into the ever expanding network of hardcore-influenced metal. Despite the trendy haircuts, bizarre piercings and sterility-inducing pants, deathcore still makes use of a variety of metal elements beyond the fad that make it worthy of some little attention. Knights of the Abyss are no exception to this, with Shades incorporating a healthy amount of thrash, melody, blastbeats and, surprisingly, showing some restraint over the use of breakdowns. It is the use of discernable melodies in particular which distinguishes Shades from more boring bands like Job For a Cowboy and make them far closer to the Black Dahlia Murder.

Overall, Shades is a consistently average album. KOTA are clearly very good musicians and their riffs are generally quite interesting individually.  Having said that, there is very little variation throughout the album; most songs and riffs follow a particular formula which becomes more boring and blurred as the listener progresses. This is certainly the album’s biggest flaw. A lack of diversity in music can generally be repaired if the quality of the songs and riffs is very high, but KOTA simply aren’t producing anything interesting enough to mitigate the fact that the songs all sound the same. The recording quality itself is expectedly crisp, showcasing a high standard of drumming that compliments the music well. The vocals, on the other hand, do nothing to improve the album; Mike Manheimer’s growls and screams are generic and lack any real power.

It is clear to me from listening to Shades that KOTA have considerable potential if they should choose to try their hand at writing more original songs, but as things stand now they are just another wheel in the trendy money-making machine that is ‘extreme-metal-core’. Their band’s name is derived from the writings of Nietzsche, who thought that some day the Germanic spirit would rise up and challenge art that was stagnating as bland and formulaic entertainment. Ironically, this is exactly the kind of product that KOTA are offering at this point. 6/10

For fans of: The Black Dahlia Murder, Job For a Cowboy, Whitechapel

Band: Knights of the Abyss
Album: Shades
Year: 2008
Genre: Deathcore
Label: Ferret Music
Origin: Arizona, USA

Track Listing:
1. Banished
2. A New Darkened Faith
3. Whorror Storm
4. Dont Feed The Heathens
5. Running Out Of Earthly Wealth
6. Feeling Faint
7. Dis Unveiled
8. The Penalty Of The Tyrant <- Reviewer’s Choice
9. Suicide Reign
10. Bound By Heresy
11. Exploitation
12. Behold The Frigid Realm Of Div

Reviewed by George Kosmas