Shores of Null - Quiescence
Given that Quiescence is the debut LP from these Italian Melodeath upstarts, I suppose it’s excusable that I know virtually nothing about them. The members of this quintet all moonlight in various other projects, but I’m assuming names like Zippo, The Orange Man Theory, and Noumeno aren’t going to ring too many bells outside of Lazio’s small club circuit. The one thing I do know is that when these guys fully commit themselves to writing an incredibly memorable melodic Death Metal song, they succeed on a big-league level. Trouble is, that only occurs roughly half of the time on album #1. Let’s start with what they excel at: clean vocal harmonization and soaring majestic melodies. Four songs on this record have those in spades —”Souls of the Abyss,” “Night Will Come,” “Ruins Alive,” and “Quiescent”— all of them, oddly enough, grouped together in succession as tracks 3-6. “Souls of the Abyss” starts with an infectious hook right out of Insomnium’s playbook, and then digs yet deeper into the listener with layered clean vocal harmonization that buries the verses into the cerebral cortex permanently. There’s an all-pro quality reminiscent of Staley/Cantrell when lead vocalist Davide Straccione teams up with guitarists Raffaele Colace and Gabriele Giaccari for 3-part delight. “Night Will Come” continues the vibe, yet it’s the harsh vocals this time that really drive the chorus home. On “Ruins Alive,” it’s back to the cleany goodness as Straccione expands his range over a backdrop of saccharine melodies that would’ve made the guys in Pyogenesis jealous before they turned queer. And finally with “Quiescent,” the band takes a Doomier crawl towards more clean-sung perfection. It’s difficult not to (try to) sing along to these verses, and don’t be surprised if they follow you into the shower later. The downside to Quiscence is that, aside from this flawless 4-song EP placed smack dab in the heart of the record, the rest is pretty forgettable. Despite a few good riffs here and there, none of the other tracks are as brilliantly arranged or as commanding as the fantastic four. And really, once they lay those harmonies on you, everything else this band does just seems like second best. I’m not saying ditch the harsh vocals and more aggressive bits altogether, but clearly it’s the cleanest that’s the meanest for Shores of Null. If they could ever carry the momentum of that “4-song EP” over the course of an entire full-length, it’d be a masterpiece with Album of the Year potential.
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