In the world of heavy music, familiarity is a blessing and a curse. It’s a genre of music so elitist-driven, wearing your influences on your sleeve is an important aspect of songwriting. But familiarity can also be like shooting yourself in the foot, dooming your band to fall into the heap of an over saturated genre. Unfortunately, the Blevins, Arkansas-based Every Knee Shall Bow feels all too familiar.
Now, I should back up. These kids (seriously — two of them are 13 and 14) know how to write songs. If I had the talent and riff-writing capabilities of these kids when I was their age, I can’t imagine what my songwriting would be like now, 15 years later. Slayers of Eden starts off with an unneeded intro track — in the age of mp3 players, the jarring break between mp3s should be taken into consideration — that leads into the title track, which sets the tone of the record: heavy, grooving, and diverse.
The band could benefit from walking a finer line between the diverse sounds on this album, but nothing really feels out of place. The playing is confident, the riffs are solid, and the vocals are brutal. The production could be better, but it isn’t distracting.
Like I said previously, Every Knee Shall Bow wears their influences proudly. Taken at face value, this album kind of sounds like the greatest hits of Christian metalcore. From the groove-infused mid-tempo Inhale/Exhale (“Slayers of Eden”), to the harder, moshier For Today (“His Mercies”, “Vigilance of Battle”), to dark and heavy Impending Doom (“Avenging the Martyrs”) and everything in between.
These guys call themselves technical deathcore, which is a stretch. It’s not technical, and I don’t hear much death metal outside of a few riffs. Where are the blast beats? Where are the thrash riffs? The mosh is definitely there. The sludgy riffs are there (the giant single-note riff with the squeals in the middle of “The Lion’s Teeth” had me rewinding over and over. It’s that good.) I just want to hear more.
This album feels like a good start. It’s heavy and well-written. Just absolutely nothing new. I can tell these guys are capable of so much more, and I look forward to hearing what they come up with next.