Across the Shade – „Hope”

Times when melodic death metal ruled in my CD player are long gone, but every once in a while an album pops up that reminds me of those good old days. Poland’s Across the Shade has some melodic elements that bring In Flames, Dark Tranquility and At The Gates to mind, but also has this harsh factor in their music that reminisces of Arch Enemy and Aetherian way of doing things. The album was released at September of 2019 without some huge promotion so if it flew under your radar – you may need to do some research. To me it is one of the stronger melodic death metal debuts I’ve heard in a while.
It’s modern melodic death metal, hence it took some convincing before I could even summon the thought of even looking at the cover artwork; I decided to give this one a chance despite my aging impatience with the disgraced sub genre of melodic-death, and for what is represented here on ”Hope” I was surprised I even made it through the record without nodding away before the inception of the second track, and even going as far as having a repeated listen.A few good memories, though most of what the sub-genre resembles is a mockery of early 90s melodic death metal. It is their first full length record and Across the Shade is giving us a little bit of everything when it comes to melodic death metal. The songs are packed with energy and melody and all of them burst with liveliness heavily driven by contrasting tempos and purposeful guitar work.Guitars are always counterbalancing the other with the proper string of chords, or plucky melody, and this persists throughout the album. Kamil Sikorski has a brutal if average growl, but it’s mixed just right and justfully anchors the sad dreaminess of the compositions.The lyrics and titles are introspective and interesting, and the band sounds like they’ve been at this for a decade minimum and not just six years so far.
There are few if any flaws to this album. The production is fantastic, all vocals and instrumentation fit perfectly across all tracks, as a thirty-five minutes of the album is a travel worth undertaking. As mentioned earlier, some of the riffs and melodies may seem as if you’ve heard them a thousand times before, but they simply do not hinder the impressive whole of „Hope”.Though melodic death metal has not been in the best of shape by a long-shot for some time now, its bands like Across the Shade that provide some hope the genre still has a shot at relevance. Give ”Hope” a listen, perhaps there is something there for ears weary of cheered mediocrity.Across the Shade have crafted the very best melodic death metal I have heard to date.