"Chained" is the second release by Shadecrown this year, following up on their first self-titled effort released in January, and even though it only contains four tracks it still becomes very clear that they have continued to develop their sound such is the improvement in just twelve months.
Despite its brevity "Chained" is almost a tale of two halves, the first two tracks "Far Off Innocence" and "Tear-Stained Heart", are more aggressive whereas "Longing For Sleep" and "Drown Pain Drown" settle into a more morose, doom inspired state. It is melodic death metal at its core just not the upbeat kind, somewhere in between Insomnium and Swallow The Sun, two bands that come to mind quite readily.
In any case, there is a lot of muscular guitar work as a solid base over which well-placed keyboards and sporadic clean vocals add a welcome atmosphere without watering the songs down. In fact, these are the areas where Shadecrown have developed the most on "Chained", there may only be four songs but it's definitely a case of quality over quantity with no weak moments to be found.
I must admit, I do admire the fact that Shadecrown aren't jumping straight into a full length from the beginning and are honing their craft as it is clearly paying dividends as the marked improvement between their two releases shows. That they have done this independently is all the more admirable as "Chained" looks and sounds great and I am keen to see what they can come up with next, particularly if they continue to develop.