What better way to celebrate ten years as a band than blowing away metalcore standards with another outstanding album? Dead in the Shadow, the long-awaited third album by To Speak of Wolves, brings the listener through an intricate journey of questions, tension, and the complexity of relationships, jumping right back into the deep end of the metalcore scene with impeccable honesty – well worth the wait. From start to finish, Dead in the Shadow‘s poetry is weaved not only through the lyrics, but also in every note, beat, and subtle (and certainly the sometimes-not-so subtle) tone.
Living up to their own hype, the album is a work of art, perfectly depicting the raw, fractured truth about living in a broken world.
Fans can expect nothing less from such a stacked lineup of band members; hailing from bands like Upon a Burning Body, Foreign War, Sullivan, and This Runs Through, To Speak of Wolves sets the bar unfairly high. Living up to their own hype, the album is a work of art, perfectly depicting the raw, fractured truth about living in a broken world.
Founding drummer Phil Chamberlain, the brother of Spencer Chamberlain (Underoath, Sleepwave), drives the energy with playful rhythms in the opening track, “Haunt Me.” He proves once again it’s in his blood to capture the true nature of the metalcore genre. Vocalist Gage Speas follows suit with impressive stamina for both staccato and longer phrases. His passionate delivery ties the lyrics securely to the expressive instrumentation. The guitar and bass infuse the song with catchy melodic riffs, sealing it with identity. The subtle addition of gang vocals also gives the intro track just enough eeriness to set the stage and excite the listener for what’s to come.
The next few songs showcase the band’s punk rock roots with an accent on their diversity. Between intricate fills and straight grooves, the energy weaves between angst and relief. While bassist Seth Webster subtly shapes the sonic texture with tasteful bass lines and immaculate tone, Speas focuses on delivering sophisticated lyrics. In “Scapeson,” he cries, “My hands are tired from the weight of empty words.” The highs and lows in his vocals move in tandem with the constant shift in the music, holding the audience captive for the entire journey.
Guitarist Andrew Gaultier really shows off his chops in later tracks like “Braided Bay” and “Touch,” where his carefully crafted clean tones and tenacious riffs testify to the scope his skills. With the perfect balance of raw noise and precision, the guitars mirror the lyrics seamlessly. In a final burst of desperation, Speas begs, “Polish my bones / Wrap them in my skin / Soak them in remorse / Bury them again / Touch me / Feel free to pull back my skin / Let yourself in / I’ve got some crooked bones.”
The dust settles with the last track, “I Am The Shovel / I Am The Grave,” where the blend of acoustic guitar and vivid imagery leave the listener with an unresolved, introspective aftertaste – a pattern that started in their last album, Find Your Worth, Come Home. To Speak of Wolves is known for giving their albums everything they’ve got. It’s plain to see that each member gives their strongest performance to date in Dead in the Shadow. Passion rips every riff at the seams and every note cuts through. As long as the world remains a mystery to be explored and TSoW is ready to explore it, this North Carolina band will always have a place in heavy music.