Sound — 8
Ohio death metal merchants From the Shallows came together in 2004, initially as a side project featuring members of the bands Let It Die, The Dawning, and The Black Dahlia Murder. Over the course of the next two years, From the Shallows gigged extensively throughout the Midwest, especially in Ohio and Michigan, and eventually settled into a lineup featuring Steffan Howey on vocals, Joey Frost and Marco Mendoza on guitars, Jon Deering on bass, and David Rhoades on percussion. As the buzz over From the Shallows grew, they came to the attention of extreme metal label Tribunal Records, which signed the band to a recording deal. The group went into the studio with producer Joey Sturgis (The Devil Wears Prada, Sea Of Treachery) at his Foundation Recording studio, and From the Shallows first EP, "Beyond the Unknown," was released in the spring of 2007. The seven song EP is a powerful expression of dark lyrics, heavy detuned guitars, and impressively fast drumming. "Beyond the Unknown" features breakdowns that will have you banging your head into oblivion. Probably one of the biggest understatements about this band is the variety of sounds they achieve within one song. The norm for black metal is to just play a couple riffs over and over while the drummer plays as fast as he can; this is not the case for "From the Shallows." Every section is composed with intent and plays off the previous perfectly. Whether it's a breakdown, guitar solo, or small dose of a group vocal, the transition is seamless and perfect.
Lyrics — 6
The only weak aspect of this album is the lyrics themselves. The overall sound and arrangement of vocals is really good, but the words themselves are nothing new. They contain the same ideas and subject matter as every other black/death metal band. "No science proves the chalice of mankind so drink up drink up The bitter lust of man gargle and spit your black vomit black vomit black vomit Your left to waste away Your left to waste away" Sure the lyrics fit the music, but they are really nothing special. Although the vocalist is talented, I have a very hard time understanding anything he is saying. Even reading the lines I have a hard time making words out.
Overall Impression — 9
I would compare this album to the recording styles of The Black Dahlia Murder, Through The Eyes Of The Dead and The Red Chord (seeing as how much of the band are former members of their contemporaries, the sound shouldn't surprise you). The ending track "Entities Beheading" is the best song on the album. It showcases the range and musicianship of the band. It also has one of the heaviest breakdowns I have ever heard, plus it has an ending guitar solo that is rather impressive. The variety of sounds created is my favorite thing about this album, sure its death metal the entire time, but it's different sounding from track to track. If it were to come up missing, I would definitely buy it again no questions asked.