NightShade: An Endless Vision

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NightShade: An Endless Vision
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NightShade: An Endless Vision
Deathcore, Electronica, Techno
Bullet Tooth Records
April 30th, 2013
Release length: 32:43
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In 2011, NightShade issued their second full-length album, Lost in Motion, through Bullet Tooth Records, meeting with some highly varied receptions. Two years later, almost to the day, they present their third album, An Endless Vision, a highly anticipated album thanks largely to their music video for the track “Betrayal.” The French Electronica fused Metalcore/Deathcore act also enlisted Jason Suecof, who worked with bands like DevilDriver and Whitechapel, perhaps to gain that sleek, modern heaviness both groups are known for with his recordings. It was also mastered by Alan Douches, a name that gives hope for the quality considering his time working with Lacuna Coil and The Ghost Inside. Being hailed as their most adventurous effort yet, does An Endless Vision pack a solid punch, or are the technical elements not even enough to save this from mediocrity?

As you might expect, the audio here is pretty crisp without losing any bite. In fact, it greatly adds to the atmosphere some songs have. The guitars have that standard heavy buzzing distortion common to the Deathcore genre, and a lower bass guitar presence that can sometimes sound restrained depending on the song, but can really boom in many areas. The drumming is tight with a nice clarity all around. The cymbals have no wash out and are leveled just right against the stern louder click of the bass kicks, and the rich, tighter snap to the rest of the kit. The vocals are a little more dominant in the mix, but only when it comes to the low shouting and gutturals. The clean singing that appears is actually kind of weak and innocent, adding a nice contrast to the many slower moments, giving off a strong Still Remains and Demon Hunter vibe.

“Amiss Desire” kicks things off like your traditional Deathcore attempt, having those tight chugging styled riffs that often become technical in timing as it goes on, but, shortly after, you are greeted with some engaging hooks that really help to give this one a strong atmosphere that almost becomes nautic. The breakdown is solid, being more than just one note chugging, and includes the group’s Electronica fascination in a fluid manner, making it have a purpose to be here. It’s an impressive start, and one of the few to include that style. “Apathy” starts off on the typical Deathcore side once more, but eventually picks up speed and richness, throwing a few brief areas of sound effects in half way through. It’s a short track, but the rich, faster conclusion is definitely worth it.

“Wasteful Ways” features that softer clean singing, working superbly with the melodic riffs that really establish an emotional environment. There are some passages with tighter chugging riffs like before, but it all acts more like a build up towards the rich, slower paced melodic chorus that is hard to walk away from. Again, like the Electronica of the last song, it all has a reason to be there and helps progress the song, though the breakdown at the very end does wind up more like overkill than anything, unlike the moving piano performance at the end of “Make Up Your Mind.” This one starts with groove filled Death Metalish riffs that are hard to resist banging your head alond to. The song does simplify the performance a little, though the atmospheric hooks still exist, as well as a nice guitar solo. But, of all these songs, the most unique ends up being “Contemporary Ascension.” This one focuses more on the bass, and less on the stereotypical Deathcore chugging. It even has a much dark atmosphere while coming through rather hostile. The clean singing has more enthusiasm in this one, but it’s the cinematic score at the end that really stands out, oddly suiting the performance, though being out of place in context with the album as a whole.

Aside a few breakdowns that could be a little better, there are a few major faults. “Vitue in Hand” is quite different from the rest of the album, offering shorter chugging Deathcore riffs after a while that just sound like specks of noise, and seem a little upbeat. There’s also a touch of Hardcore influence as well. Then there’s the clean singing here that comes out of nowhere. It’s a far more nasal and somewhat whiny approach more akin to an Emo or modern scene band of some kind, and in that context this approach would work great. However, it doesn’t really suit the music here, or the general flow of the album itself. This sends An Endless Vision in a completely wrong direction as well. The singing on “Virtue in Hand” returns once more, and the Hardcore presence is stronger on top of this. There are some Electronic elements too, but they end up not really adding much, nor are they really needed, ending up more like padding to feed the established fan fodder.

While An Endless Vision isn’t the most amazing album the Deathcore style will ever see, it’s definitely one hell of a step in the right direction. The additional atmospheric, even emotional lead chords add so much to what would have been nothing but cheap, generic chugging riffs that the style is known for, and the melodic Metalcore bits add a worthwhile payout for going through them as well, allowing the music to build and flow naturally. The restraint on the Electronic elements are a welcome change too, making them always feel like they need to be there for the sake of the song, rather than for the sake of having that style be there to hit a certain fanbase or demographic. NightShade has definitely matured a lot on this recording, leaving you with plenty of impressive tracks you’ll find yourself headbanging along to, or even moshing wherever you stand. If you like Deathcore and are sick of the generic mimickery that has befowled the style, then An Endless Vision is an album definitely worth checking out.

01. Amiss Desire – 3:13
02. Wasteful Ways – 3:50
03. Kleos – 2:46
04. Make Up Your Mind – 3:46
05. Apathy – 2:16
06. Betrayal – 3:00
07. Contemporary Ascendency – 4:08
08. Virtue in Hand – 4:04
09. Creepy Crawlies – 2:30
10. Hope is What Makes us Strong – 3:10
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

NightShade (band)
NightShade

Digital review copy of this release provided by Bullet Tooth Records.