Artist: Every Knee Shall Bow
Album: Slayers of Eden
Faith is one of the most powerful and driving aspects of human ethos. It can drive just about anyone to do just about anything—even acts which seem far beyond the scope and ability of man’s form and function. A devout belief in a cause, religion or ruler can lead one to build great empires and obelisks, or tear them down–it can be a constructive force for the creation of a masterpiece, or the bitterness which results in its destruction. In the case of technical deathcore act Every Knee Shall Bow, and their full-length release, Slayers of Eden faith does both. On one hand, it is the driving force behind an album that comprehensively displays brilliantly constructed mastery of everything from technical and melodic death metal to hard-hitting beat down. On the other, it is the force which results in an equal amount of destruction—the destruction of barriers and borders between the genres the band combines into a unique and immersive sound, and the barriers which stand between religiously inspired faith and devotion and crushing, bone-splitting brutality.
From the first seconds of Slayers of Eden, it is impossible to deny Every Knee Shall Bow’s penchant for technically-infused, thrashy death metal. Above all other instrumental elements, the guitars reign as king, imparting winding, looping and marvelous riffs around sturdy, deep drumming and hearty, popping bass. “The Story Of…” does this exceptionally well, as do the lacerating licks found in “His Mercies,” which feel as if they’re about to leap out of the listener’s music player and cut their skin wide open. Slayers of Eden’s aspects of death metal mastery do not end there, however. “Call of Love,” the album’s most elaborately written and epic track, functions as a conflux of the various metallic influences Every Knee Shall Bow make excellent use of. From a blood-pumping and fast-paced introduction to a progressive and atmospheric closing section, “Call of Love” sees the band taking a journey through the various styles of music that influence them, enabling them to pick and choose as they desire. The result is not just one track—a track which is diverse and engaging—but one facet of an immersive and well-rounded album which catches the listener’s ear and drags them into the release.
The other side of Every Knee Shall Bow’s sound is one which has it’s feet planted firmly in the realm of hardcore and beatdown. While Slayers of Eden makes extensive use of technically provocative guitars and impeccably written song structure, there also lies a tendency for the inclusion of gut-busting breakdowns and bone-snapping slams which render the listener completely helpless against the album’s onslaught. Guitars which once soared high and fast in the style of atmospherically-driven technical death metal drop down into low and punchy chugs, while the drums turn from quick and jabbing to a slow, steamroller pace which flattens the listener. “No Longer Slaves” stands out as perhaps the album’s heaviest track, incorporating a series of absolutely crushing breakdowns that subject the listener to an Atlas-like weight upon their shoulders. However, this weight is lifted from the listener’s back when the two pieces of Every Knee Shall Bow’s winding and well-woven dynamic reaches a ying-and-yang style equilibrium.
This equilibrium is one of give and take—a pseudoscientific occurrence if ever there was one. For there is no moment where aspects of heaviness are the only influences prevalent, the same as there is no moment where all aspects of the band’s proclivity towards the chug vanish. Rather, both of these elements are always present in varying amounts—and when one pushes harder, the other is relegated to the background, never vanishing, but becoming menial. It is this aspect which makes Slayers of Eden a truly immersive and dynamic voyage through Every Knee Shall Bow’s noteworthy range of influences. The opening and title track of the album commences with a series of metallic and thrashy riffs, but with just a hint of heaviness which keeps the listener waiting with baited breath, until, finally, the end of the track serves as a sweet release. The tediously stacked and intricately played riffs finally reach a top-heavy point and topple, crushing the listener in the process with spine-shrinking heaviness in the form of a blistering breakdown.
But wait, there’s more.
While all of this instrumental mayhem is abound, the band stays true with their message of faith, redemption and religion. While, to some, this might seem dull, uninteresting or even preachy, the simple truth is that Every Knee Shall Bow are firm and unwavering in their beliefs. Even if these beliefs are not necessarily the same as the listener’s, the power and conviction behind them helps craft a believable atmosphere and immersive experience. This experience is one such that, on tracks like “Avenging the Martyrs,” “Vigilance of Battle” or “The Cleansing,” when the vocalist describes great battles and the woes of fighting along against hordes of the damned, the listener can actually believe him, and feel as if they, too, are in the midst of an enormous war.
True, faith is a touchy topic, especially in the scene surrounding heavy music. However, Every Knee Shall Bow cast their concerns aside and write nothing but catchy, technical and heavy—but faith driven—music with Slayers of Eden. Reaching out to the listener and detailing great scenes of war, famine, battle and redemption, this release is one which will captivate listeners of any value system and, if nothing else, compel them to hit the replay button countless times.
For Fans Of: The Great Commission, The Order of Elijah, Hester Prynne, On Solid Ground
By: Connor Welsh