Review: (EchO) – Head First into Shadows

Posted: August 12, 2016 in Reviews
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Italian masters of melancholy (EchO) have dropped the monstrous, miserable ‘Head First into Shadows’ on the awesome subsidiary of Solitude Productions (BadMoonMusic), and it is 50 plus minutes of glorious doom with elements of black and even death/doom thrown into the mix as well.

It begins with the soaring ‘Blood and Skin’, evoking Paradise Lost with grey melodies and looming riffs. Gloomy clean vocals mesh croon while a harsh rasp takes over in parts, providing brutality within the beauty. Soulful melodies lie upon the riffs like snow on frozen ground, and (EchO) aren’t afraid of a lighter touch to make their point. ‘This Place We Call Home’ could be a more doomy Porcupine Tree, with progressive acoustics blending with an almost atmospheric black metal feel. It brings to mind Panopticon, Chiral and the like, and there’s also a strong Opeth influence on the powerful ‘Beneath This Lake’.

I love the icy melodies that weave in and out of these songs, peeking out from the enveloping misery that sinks upon you as you listen to it. The monolithic ‘Gone’ is a perfect centrepiece; a dense death/doom masterwork that progresses through soft melodies and dark atmospheres. The triumphantly catchy ‘A New Maze’ leads into closer ‘Order of the Nightshade’, homje of the darkest and most insidious melodies.

‘Head First Into Shadows’ is a monument to misery, a powerful statement of intent and a stunning album. One of 2016’s best doom records, and an example to anyone who wants to know how to make metal records properly atmospheric and emotional!


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