ALBUM REVIEW: Shadow of Everest - The Hunting Ground

There is just something about the north (the North-American north, also known as Canada) and fantastic groups that seem to ride the stoner-rock/metal style out of 'stoner' territory. No joke, I mean it could be a group of people smoking joints while playing and I could only say it mirrors the style, not the content -las these bands are no Sleep or Bongzilla. Then again, I wouldn't call bands like The Sword stoner either, but it's universally labelled as so. So, go figure. Another pointless point for me.

Anyhow, Shadow of Everest is one of those stoner not-stoner metal/rock bands from the North - specifically, from Halifax. And, while this does make me pine for my own homeland, I just can't throw out points for being born awesome. However, I can for the band's extremely polished sound. It's not usual that I hear bands of this particular subgenre start out so early with such care and thought put into how everything sounds. The Hunting Ground, isn't a wave of sound, it's a carefully crafted experience clearly put forth by musicians looking to be seen as real, genuine musicians. Seems that there is some serious ambition when it comes to the Shadow of Everest and forward momentum.

While the band does have some of the things you'd expect, some parts and inspiration that sounds like some other bands I won't mention here - there is enough originality here to just straight up say it was inspiration at most. Personally, I adore the layer vocals that mainly flow through the majority of the tracks here. For some, it might be an acquired taste but I feel it works really well, surprisingly well. Some tracks, such as 'We are Wrong' have a different type of ebb and flow to them, even including whole other vocal styles. It's great to keep it mixed, but I suppose it could divert the unprepared listener as that specific song sounds almost like power-metal. In fact, a later track titled 'Ravenman' even has a power-metal feeling to it.

Instrumentally, The Hunting Ground sounds very much like what you'd expect from a typical stoner-metal/rock album. As mentioned, the band takes some detours into power-metal territory but aside from that you get some pleasing smoky-bluesy riffs between chug. If Shadow of Everest does one thing right (which it does way more then that, so this is for the sake of word flow), it's the chug. It seems like Shadow of Everest knew this, as songs like 'Dark Spiral' seem completely based around making things as chuggy and heavy as the band possibly could handle. It really does help mix things up just a little bit more. It's sprinkles on a already lively and entertaining cake - also playing into the album being more of a overall experience rather then made to push out a single or for the sake of completion.

The Hunting Ground is best when it's at maximum chug and throwing out unique vocals with interesting lyrics. Thankfully, the thirty-eight minutes contained within this album contain so much of it you'll likely not need to listen elsewhere for a little while. You might not even have to, if you are so inclined to go back and discover their previous offerings.