Shaped By Fate

I Fear The World Has Changed

Written by: AP on 23/12/2012 23:50:59

It has been an excellent year for British music, particularly so in the metalcore genre, from whence we have already been graced with Architects' "Daybreaker", Bury Tomorrow's "The Union of Crowns" and While She Sleeps' "This Is the Six". And yet another excellent album stands here now, courtesy of the much less prominent Welsh outfit Shaped by Fate, whose success has until now been strictly of the underground kind despite having released a promising debut in "The Unbeliever" five years ago. But that might all change with this sophomore effort "I Fear the World Has Changed".

It is a dark, intense album that initially draws close parallels to the early work of Architects in particular, yet then unravels enough rare qualities of its own to stand out as an independent effort. It has been a long time coming, and the lengths to which Shaped by Fate have gone in terms of writing the best songs they possible could are obvious from the get-go, with "The End Is Fucking Nigh" and "Give Me Hope" both impressing with mature lyrics, exciting dynamics and a suffocating sense of intensity. They also serve well to expose the band's hidden Converge influences, particularly in the ominously ringing guitar tone and Paul Fortescue's ferocious roar; influences that drape the album in a constant sense of threat and afford it some much needed identity in this populous scene. It is this threatening atmosphere that also serves as the continuum throughout the album, burning slowly through the excellent instrumental piece "Strolling Bones" to reveal one of its highlights: "Crimson Pig".

"Crimson Pig" is a song that instantly oozes class; punching in with the force of a sledgehammer and texturing its soundscape with all manner of trickery and fine details. The song carries a simple but effective main riff that has as much lasting value than any clean sung chorus could have, but its most effective asset is without a doubt the constant escalation that takes place throughout and leads into a magnificent finale the likes of which you rarely hear in this genre. The effect of its conclusion is made all the greater by the gently resonating intro of the following "Cannons" - another instant memory imprint in the form of a song that introduces a distinct old school heavy metal feel to the proceedings (instrumentally, that is), and another example of the profound songwriting talent Shaped by Fate have at their disposal.

The brief but furious sonic assault of "Plague & Rapture" immediately after brings to mind the Dillinger Escape Plan at their most frenetic, though its purpose in the running length seems merely to be to enforce variety. It's a great blast of aggression designed to awaken the listener from the immersion of the previous, more progressive minded tracks. But given that it precedes the unquestionable standout moment of the album, "Death Junction" - another stunning piece of confronting, explorative metal that contributes to the unique niche Shaped by Fate are attempting to carve out for themselves - it does come across as a little bit ineffectual in the context of the big picture. Together with the aforementioned "Give Me Hope" and the subsequent "Funeral Gloom", it is the most desperate and emotionally challenging pick, crashing into a storm of despair in its mid-section that is curiously reminiscent of bands like The Saddest Landscape and Troubled Coast; the soul-wrenching solo that creeps in around the 4-minute mark adding a brilliant touch of grandeur.

It should be obvious at this point that "I Fear the World Has Changed" has been structured in an extremely effectual manner (one that Kvelertak coincidentally also mastered on their debut): the initial songs are designed to catch your attention and only hint at the band's progressive tendencies with short crescendos; and with every passing song the atmosphere is slowly built while the songs grow, in length, complexity and amount of texture. As such, the final duo comprising "Womb of Snakes" - a stoning, almost post-metallic song reminiscent of The Ocean - and "Black Goliath" provide the most demanding (and diverse) moments. The impression that such structuring emits is that "I Fear the World Has Changed" is above everything else a full album - but nonetheless one with enough individual highlights to cater to casual listening sessions as well.

Granted, it may not be quite as catchy as the three British metalcore released mentioned in the preamble to this review, but what Shaped by Fate have compiled here is a mature, complete album that spells out quality with each passing second. If the typical chorus-oriented metalcore has grown tiring to you, then perhaps this darker, more complex take on the genre will be more to your taste. It has certainly hit mine spot on.

Download: Give Me Hope, Crimson Pig, Death Junction, Funeral Gloom, Black Goliath
For the fans of: Brotherhood of the Lake, Carcer City, Norma Jean
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.06.2012
Siege of Amida Records

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