Amid The Barren And Lost - Shadow Self Psalms album review

Boston hardcore crew return with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it third album

Cover art for Amid The Barren And Lost - Shadow Self Psalms album

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Unlike countless other debutants who attempt the kitchen sink approach, this London quartet succeed in nailing the basics, with subtle atmospheres and steamhammer rhythms underpinning impressive and infectious lead breaks. Embers Of The Desolate snaps and jolts from one riff to the next while the groove-laden Exiled From The Sun culminates by smashing against the cliffs. Sean Gibson pulls off the Randy Blythe trick of savagely serrated vocals that can still carry a hook, with both Nameless Slave and I Play The Victim Well offering white-hot slabs of metal that get their hooks in. However, the grandiose midpace of Womb Dance In The Void and the Maiden-worshipping gallop and lavish leads of closer The Beautiful Architecture Of Lies show they’re more than just merchants of taut yet malicious metal that aims straight for the most exposed body part.

Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.