Formed in 2013, the melodeath outfit (Now consisting of vocalist Mathias, guitarists Stian and Per Kristian, bassist Ola and drummer Håvard) spent a lot of their formative years pushing and promoting their debut EP “The Final Mind Plague”, slowly expanding and making a name for themselves, but when the ball got rolling, the follow up EP “Wrath Of Kharon” wasn’t too far behind and now in 2018, after a slight line-up shuffle, they’ve unleashed their debut full length album; “Shortcuts To Dead Ends”…hopefully not foreseeing their own career path, let’s check it out.
The album opens up with “Exhumer” and we’re greeted with a chilling, almost foreboding piano led intro, it sounds like something straight out of a horror movie score so cold it is…before out of the shadows bursts this incredibly intense mass of brutal metal. The demonic, bowel-worrying growls sounding like they’ve been freshly dug out of a pit of misery, though the guitars carry with them their own hypnotic melody, drawing you in…add to that a brief yet harmonious guitar solo and it’s a solid intro, though it does end annoyingly abruptly. Follow up track “Vindicta” has its roots embedded more in the early days of thrash metal; from the commanding percussion and traditional riffs, musically at least it showcases the bands influence taken from old-school metal acts such as METALLICA.
The whole point of melodeath as a genre though is pretty self-explanatory as it aims to combine the crushing power of metal with more graceful instrumental elements and that’s put across on album highlight “Only You Know”…the whispered vocals add a fresh dynamic as the smooth guitars meander through your speakers, allowing the growled vocals to sound all the more imposing, channeling the likes of DARK TRANQUILITY and OPETH; an anti-ballad if you will, before “A Plea For Silence” takes some of the more pop-esque production from artists like IN FLAMES to deliver a strong, hook-laden chorus. The bulk of the album mind you IS a slight case of Ctrl C, Ctrl V, as the bludgeoning, riff-heavy metal does tend to blend and become slightly repetitious, although closing track “Into The Abyss” takes you by surprise as the relaxing guitar harmonies allow the album to unwind with a brief instrumental cool-down. Overall Haunted By Silhouettes can clearly deliver a solid death metal record and when they do incorporate melody they’ve done it really well, although those moments are short-lived, taking a back seat to the general goring going on…they’ve not quite gone down a dead end, maybe if they experiment with some clean vocals next time around they’ll find a better balance but there’s nothing really wrong with this per se…we’re not quite pleading for silence just yet.