Knife Of Liberty

Shadow Chasers EP

Written by: PP on 16/07/2008 18:09:42

When it comes to the Danish emo/screamo scene, you can count the number of bands in it with less than all of your available fingers. What surprises me the most about the scene is how high the quality bar has been set, as pretty much every band is easily capable of attracting international attention as well, as long as they are marketed properly in other countries. Kolding based Knife Of Liberty's self titled debut album firmly placed the band on the throne of the Danish scene together with Trusted Few, perhaps not in terms of fanbase-size but in terms of the great songwriting many songs on the disc had. It has been less than a year since that release and the band is already ready with a new EP called "Shadow Chasers". Perhaps they were eager to get the new material out as soon as possible, considering how significant departure it is from their previous sound.

The first thing you notice about the EP is how the Hawthorne Heights imitation has been dropped out almost completely. No longer does the band utilize heartbreaking screams delivered in a slow, painfully desperate passion, contrasted with much weaker clean vocals and infectious choruses. While that approach worked well for the band, it was easy to see that writing another record full of songs like that would probably lead into the same thing as happened with Hawthorne Heights on "If Only You Were Lonely": a boring release attempting to re-hash the same choruses and riffs that made the debut album so good.

So instead, the speedometer has been cranked up quite significantly. Remember the metalcore-ish opening lead of the self-titled album that raced on for a while before the song transformed into a pure emo/screamo song made out mostly of clean vocals and sugar sweet choruses? The single, rather complex lead has been traded in for a much more thicker, more layered guitar sound not all too distant from what UnderOATH did on "Define The Great Line". It's curvier, more thought out, and much better produced. As for the clean vocals, they are now more of a rarity than the order of the day. Almost the entirety of the album is full of throaty screaming that's comfortably placed somewhere between UnderOATH and Norma Jean's styles. It's harsh enough to sound tearing, like Norma Jean's Cory (see especially "In The Afterlife"), but simultaneously smooth enough to blend nicely into the thick chords and oscillating riffs.

The Norma Jean inspiration can further be seen on "The Evil Of Adelaide Winters", where occasional guitar breakdowns remind you of the great moments on "Redeemer", but not enough to make you raise your eyebrows like the Hawthorne Heights bits in "The Ghost Sonata" did, for instance. Because for every Norma Jean breakdown, there's another smooth riff or a complex guitar lead, or a clean vocal in a chorus or something.

So if I were to give a summary of "Shadow Chasers EP", I'd just say it's faster, heavier, more muscular, and more artistically complete than their debut album. While I certainly like their development into a darker musical universe, I can see how many of their fans will be missing the sweet clean choruses and the singalong bits which are much rarer here. In fact, if the band is able to incorporate a bit more infectiousness - or alternatively more singalong bits - for their next recording, I'm sure the result will be exceptional (especially now that they have a full-time vocalist/frontman). For now, "Shadow Chasers" simply cements the band's position as one of the elite screamo bands from Denmark, who by now should undeniably be signed. Label exec's, wake up.

Download: The Evil Of Adelaide Winters
For the fans of: Norma Jean, UnderOATH, Trusted Few
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.01.2008

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