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Review: Shokran – Exodus

Shokran is a progressive metalcore band from Russia. Exodus, the second full-length album, is upon us whether we are ready or not. Prior to the release of Exodus, Shokran received an offer to sign with Sumerian Records, but turned them down to remain unsigned. A bold move, but Shokran has been trucking along just fine and pushed out Exodus without external aid. Listen to Exodus on Spotify, purchase it on iTunes, Bandcamp, and go to their Facebook!

Without wasting any more time, let’s pick Exodus apart. That phrase sounds like it’s a negative implication, but Exodus is a great album. I just want to explain why that is. Before delving into the music I want to note the cool artwork and consistent themes. On their first album they had, what seemed to be, a figure from Egyptian mythology. Exodus‘ cover look like the scene with Moses parting the sea and it has that Egyptian eye symbol. Judging from what lyrics I caught and the song titles, the overarching theme on Exodus is more biblical than anything else. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

The god-related theme on Exodus matches well with the atmospheres created. Other similar styles of music usually do a nice job of creating an otherworldly atmosphere or background, but the way it’s done on Exodus reminds me of Shadow of Intent. Both bands really utilize a keyboard or synth of some sort during solos, bridges, or just intense moments in songs. Both bands have insane solos too. The solos on “Disfigured Hand” and “Praise the Stench (Of Your Fallen Idols)” are so great. “Disfigured Hand” doesn’t really even give you a hint that the first solo is approaching it just hits. It’s very melodic in nature, but it’s still strong. The way the first solo develops correlates with the vocals rather well. There’s a brief section where the last few notes fade out to leave an entrance for the harsh vocals to come in. As the vocals get harsh, so does the attack of the rest of the first solo. They both up the ante a bit.

Some songs have more clean vocals than other songs and that’s not a problem with me. The cleans are nice and smooth. I am assuming the cleans are used to deliver the lyrics in a more “biblical appropriate” way, if you will. The best way I can describe it is by saying some songs just sound like they are meant to deliver prophecies rather than screaming angsty lyrics about religion. “And Heavens Began to Fall” and “The Storm and the Ruler” are pretty prophetic. “The Storm and the Ruler” brings in another set of vocals that are in a higher registry. I like that the extra vocals aren’t spammed and are only placed when necessary. It adds the right touch. This track still has its fair share of heaviness in key points too, don’t worry. Low string riffage and china cymbals help out there. “And Heavens Began to Fall” was more peaceful. Peaceful is a strange word to use here because there is still a breakdown and there is still some heavy sections, but compared to the others it’s calmer.

The final, and one of the best tracks, is “Firstborn.” There is a lot to love about “Firstborn.” The intro is so interesting. It reminds me of Sunless Rise a bit, which would not be a bad combo. I love the progression in this song. The intro is heavy, it tones down a tiny bit to get the verses in, then gets heavier and heavier. The leads in this song give me life. Between the leads and that keyboard/synth thing, “Firstborn” really delivers an astral sound. Most, if not all, of the other songs do a good job of sounding mystical, but with all of the other factors put in “Firstborn” is my favorite. I love hearing bass in metal, it just makes me so happy to know people still know bass exists. Please check out Exodus from Shokran. It’s great if you’re into really technical metalcore, a good balance of riffs, breakdowns, and solos, and atmosphere. Even if technicality isn’t your favorite, I think you’d still like a few songs. These songs include “Firstborn” and “The Swarm.”

Rate: 8.4/10

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