Band: …But The Shadows Have Foes
Album:The Subject Of Pain
Genre: Hardcore Punk / Neocrust
Release Date: 2nd of October, 2020
Released via: Self-Released
Cover Artwork: © …But The Shadows Have Foes
If you like the Neocrust heroes Fall Of Efrafa but you’ve been listening to them ever since and are desperately looking for adequate replacements to fill this gap, you should now sit back and take a closer look at the current release The Subject of Pain of …But The Shadows Have Foes, because you might be able to consider this search as finished for the time being. The last record of the band from Illinois, Sparks Unknot the Flesh, could captivate me for a long time already and fascinated me with its dystopian atmosphere. Now there is the long awaited supply that continues this journey in equally good quality, again completely satisfying and captivating from the first second on.
It starts with an intro that announces calm disaster and is mainly based on samples, thus increasing the tension in an atmospheric way even before the real musical part starts. Although some thunderstorms are raining down on the listener in the upcoming songs, BTSHF still got a lot of atmospheric elements on their flag.
On The Subject Of Pain there are a lot of gruesome but at the same time ghostly beautiful melodies to discover, which are partly accompanied or replaced by melodic crusty riffing as well as by raw guitar playing. While the drumming focuses more on classical D-Beat, with a brilliant whipped snare in the focus, it becomes especially clear on the guitars that the sound of the band is a straight hybrid of Hardcore Punk and Neocrust. The songwriting offers fast, sometimes even blasting passages, which merge with distorted riffing into tempo throttling and end in oppressive, also sampled, interlude-like sounds. This then manifests itself firmly in the crust, concise bass playing is used, which gets one or another solo performance and makes the whole sound a bit more grounded. Another advantage in terms of variety are the vocals, which form a well-balanced mix between deep roars and scratchy nagging, which adapts perfectly to the instruments and respective passages.
In itself the sound quality is on a high level, but I personally think that the snare is a little bit too loud in the long run and robs the scary setting a bit of its density. This certainly is a matter of taste, though, because it can also create some punch, which gives The Subject Of Pain that specific punk touch and doesn’t let it degenerate to another post-ridden Neocrust record. In direct comparison to the predecessor you shouldn’t expect any big changes, but you can be sure to be fully served if you already got Sparks Unknot the Flesh down like oil.
Unfortunately, there is no physical release of the band so far, which, as of now, is no exception for the current record. Considering the quality and the rather independent sound, this is a real pity and will hopefully be made up for at some point. But since BTSHF largely do without logo, designed artwork and promo, it is possible that the Americans consciously try to focus on the musical content without any visual distraction, which can be a unique selling point with all the Punk and Metal releases and make it stand out from the crowd.
For fans of Hardcore Punk with a lot of atmosphere and a deeply dark setting, The Subject of Pain and …But The Shadows Have Foes in general is an absolute must have. As a listener, you will enjoy it for a long time and discover new elements from cycle to cycle. Fall Of Efrafa have finally found their true heir here, for me personally, precisely because it doesn’t sound just like another copy of it. In the future, the band should definitely get more attention than it has received so far. This might also be good so that the band will dare to release a physical album sometime.