September 25, 2014 The Relapse Symphony – Shadows (Album Review)
Hailing from the Washington, DC area, Rock band The Relapse Symphony was born in 2012. Consisting of vocalist Bret Von Dehl, guitarist JC Charles, guitarist Ray Miller, bassist Brandon Kile, and drummer Alex Foxx; the young band universally subscribe to the notion that old-fashion dirty Rock-n-Roll is king. Combining Punk Rock imagery with classic guitar driven music, the band unleashed their eleven track debut album Shadows in June via Standby Records.
Shadows opens with “Embrace the Darkness”, an instrumental comprised of a repetitive piano and deep riffs. This flows into “We Are The Broken” which launches with an obnoxious scream before guitars and bass take over. The lively vocals of Von Dehl and rhythmic drumming of Foxx melds into a peppy melody emphasized by wailing riffs. Next, “Battlefield of Lies” introduces vivid drums, varied guitar, and bass notes. Slow, albeit heavy, the song strongly resembles a Rock ballad, including an obligatory, over the top guitar solo. Further into Shadows is a fast compulsive track called “One More Yesterday”. Strong, quick drums accompany twangy vocals and a deep chorus. Jumping through tempos, as well as varied instruments, encompass this track, providing a lush and round sound which is vivacious until the final fade out. Keeping the energy coming, “Make Your Move” is an electrifying, spinning melody with emphasis on guitars and emotional singing. Punctual and upbeat, the lyrics identify with growing up and getting wiser while still pining over an unrequited love. “Savage Eyes” begins with a growling count before diving into a complex riff and quick drumbeats. The chorus complements Von Dehl’s unique sound as a wild guitar and drum duet fills the bridge before the final refrain. With tempo varying between instruments, it layers together a complex, indulgent sound.
High pitched riffs open the slow, dizzy track “Walls” with a complex melody that takes turns showcasing the talents of each member. Displaying their strengths along with Von Dehl’s emotional voice gives this track a rich and vibrant sound. With “Angels Take Us Demons Save Us”, the band explores another speedy take on Emo music. Quick and impulsive, it drives potent lyrics and a slower refrain. A haunting verse fills the last bridge before punching with guitar- driven insane riffs and low deep growls. Keeping the audience’s attention late in the album, “The Ghost That Got Away” has thick melodic Rock instrumentation while whispers engulf the bridge. Nearing the end of Shadows comes another slower ballad, “Forever Slowly”, which is emphasized by loud claps. A piano enunciates a brief silence before the second verse and throaty screams encompass the third verse before another duet between guitar and drums take over. Saving the best for last, The Relapse Symphony brings on album title track that has a frenzied tempo introduced by a slower melody, melancholy vocals, and a morose bass. Solemn and emotional, it ends the album on a powerful note.
The Relapse symphony has come a long way from when they started and Shadows shows progress in their sound. While they continue to explore their craft, they have done a fine job with this debut and it will be interesting to see them develop more individuality in the scene as they continue their journey. Fans of their brand of Rock would be hard pressed not to have this in their collection. CrypticRock give Shadows 3.5 out of 5 stars.