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The Unbeliever is Shaped By Fate's highly anticipated full length, god was it worth the wait. Ten tracks on full on, no nonsense, brutal metal that will bombard you with riffs, hooks and menacing vocals. This album will set the bar for UK Metal.
Intensely driven and truly brutal in its delivery, The Unbeliever is a positive testament to Shaped By Fate's creativity. Throat ripping vocals and intricate yet vicious guitar work are part and parcel of The Unbeliever. 'Launch The Immortal Fleet' literally launches you headfirst into the album with gusto, immediately throwing you about in the maelstrom of brooding guitars and crashing drums and without delay making a segue way into the album's title track. The palpable rage in singer Paul Fortescue's voice unwavering as he sings "These are the pale deaths which men miscall their lives/Bodies jerk like puppets corpses and hell walks laughing". This is fantastically brutal fare.
'From Perfection To Poison' continues the vein of brutal sounds. On full on attack, attack, attack mode it never wavers and at over six minutes it is like some kind of metalcore odyssey and that isn't a bad thing. When Fortescue rages "Take the strain, and battle 'til end" you believe every word. This is clever thoughtful metal which is not a thrown together effort; there is a great deal of depth here.
This is what the UK hardcore scene needs; searing, intense sounding music with real passion at its bloody heart. This is music to stand next to the Everytime I Die's and Throwdown's of this world; this is a band to be proud of, not just for Cardiff, but the whole of the UK.
Recorded by Andrew Schneider (Cave-In, Keelhaul, The Red Chord) at Foel Studio, Wales last November (with additional recordings by Romesh Dodangoda at Longwave Studio), the record has recently been mixed by Andrew Schneider at Translator Audio, NYC and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Old Man Gloom, ISIS) at New Alliance East, Boston MA. Additional musical contributors to the album include fingering maestro Phil Maine of the late great Eden Maine, and doombringer Chris Fielding of Agent Of The Morai. Artwork comes courtesy of Jimbob of welsh rock titans Taint. Shaped By Fate Band Page www.myspace.com/shapedbyfate
It's indisputable that modern technology has radically altered the ways in which we discover new music. However, with a whole wide world of aural delights at our fingertips, we sometimes overlook what's been right under our noses the whole time. Bands like Shaped By Fate, for example. Having never been the subject of any 'next big thing'-style hyperbole, the Cardiff-based five-piece have kept their heads down and got on with it, playing countless shows across Britain and Europe with the likes of The Chariot, Becoming The Archetype and Raging Speedhorn, and releasing two promising EPs in the shape of 04's 'The Fire In Which The Heart Resides' (a split with countrymen Johnny Mental) and 05's 'Brightest Lights Cast The Darkest Shadows'. Now six years into their journey, the band's debut full-length has certainly been a long time coming. But that's not such a bad thing. Whereas some acts are willing to cut corners, rushing out a flashy yet ultimately unfulfilling end product, Shaped By Fate have poured their energies into creating something with a little more depth and substance. Isis-like opener 'Launch The Immortal Fleet' is the first of many surprises, a soulful, hypnotic and strangely beautiful number that draws you in with ease. In contrast, the succeeding title track is as barbed and ugly as they come, conjuring up visions of some unholy union between The Red Chord and 'Until Your Heart Stops'-era Cave In, with Paul Fortescue's larynx-shredding howls enough to kill a Paramore fan 12 times over. Elsewhere, 'They Told Me You Were Dead' has a touch of Brit metal contemporaries Architects about it, while the teched-up guitar runs of 'Deeper The Knife Slides' display some serious Botch love. Forgive us for stating the blindingly obvious here, but 'The Unbeliever' is not an easy listen. With nearly every one of its 10 tracks clocking in at over five minutes, it places serious demands on the listener's time and patience. Couple that with the music's almost unwavering brutality and you've got a record that's intense to the point of being exhausting. This is never more evident than during the closing bars of 'From Perfection To Poison', where a megatonic Acacia Strain-worthy breakdown creates the sensation of being slowly pummelled into the ground. But amidst the carnage, shining like a beacon of hope, lies instrumental centrepiece 'My Sun Sets To Rise Again'. Here taut, intertwining melodies, fluid bass work and smart dynamic shifts show another side to the band's character, with former Eden Maine man Phil Buch providing additional six-string texture. Rock Sound isn't going to make any baseless predictions that this record will catapult Shaped By Fate to megastardom. Indeed, commercial considerations seem to have been the last thing on their minds. The important thing is that they've stuck to their guns and created something they can be proud of. 'The Unbeliever' is bold, ambitious, at times challenging, and so stupefyingly heavy you may just soil yourself. Result!
Rock Midget 4/5
It's been some considerable time coming, but at long last arrives The Unbeliever, the debut full-length from South Wales bruisers Shaped By Fate. Having first burst onto the British scene a matter of mere months after their inception in late 2001, thanks to a series of blistering live shows with the likes of Everytime I Die, Bleeding Through and Walls Of Jericho, the five-piece have gradually gone on to establish their reputation as being one of the most hard working and explosive live acts anywhere across the land. Despite the release of a handful of EP's that have been lauded by critics and underground elitists alike, things have since proved far from plain sailing for the band, with numerous changes in personnel hampering their progress and stifling momentum. But with a stable line up seemingly finally in place, The Unbeliever could well signal the true arrival of Shaped By Fate. A sprawling opus of brutal metalcore, with its colossal compositions frequently soaring past the five-minute mark, The Unbeliever proves to be more than worth the wait. 'Launch The Immortal Fleet' slowly uncoils to reveal itself to be a grandiose slab of gloomy metal akin to fellow Brits Red Stars Parade, while the album's title track ups the ante even further with its intense riffs and twisted guitar lines recalling hardcore standard bearers Botch. The Unbeliever isn't a place for subtleties, with its no holds barred approach repeatedly turning the listener black and blue, never better illustrated than on the appropriately titled 'Of This One Apocalyptic Night' which gloriously takes Until Your Heart Stops-era Cave In kicking and screaming into the late 00's. Simply put, The Unbeliever is a raging behemoth, the likes of which doesn't come around too often. It's a long overdue battering ram of a release that should help Shaped By Fate's crash past the self-imposed barricades of the underground scene and on to international prominence.
Having been part of the UK metal scene since 2001, Cardiff's Shaped By Fate may finally be on the cusp of something more than underground critical acclaim. Whilst many have criticised the UK metal scene for it's insular nature and the inability to do anything other than adhere to the templates handed down from the US, Shaped By Fate have stuck steadfastly to their own musical principles and delivered the album of their career.
Steeped in fractured riffing and tortured vocals, 'The Unbeliever' takes its musical cues from a myriad of sources but ends up sounding unique, which is the biggest trick up their collective sleeves. It sounds like trad metal before takinga stroll down Thrash Lane before dequeing into Converge styled, screamo, freak laden rhythmic torture. It's to these Welsh lads' credit that this sounds fresh and exciting as anything you've heard from the British metal scene in the last few years. Oh and it's as heavy as fuck
Metal Hammer 8/10
Having existed since 2004, it has taken until now for Welsh five-piece to unleash their debut full length. Starting with the brooding and epic sounding opening track 'Launch The Immortal Fleet', which builds in volume and complexity from it's quiet beginnings much like Swedes Cult Of Luna, before bursting into more familiar territory with title track 'The Unbeliever' with the bandfollowing much the same pattern of discordant intensity championed by the likes of (Converge, recorded by Andrew Schneider (Cave In, The Red Chord) the fearsome brooding riffage coupled with singer Paul Fortescue's Bannon-esque screams certainly help capture on record the ferocity of their live shows.