ReviewsShrapnel – In Gravity (Candlelight Records)

Shrapnel – In Gravity (Candlelight Records)

Another pivotal juncture in the career of UK thrash act Shrapnel – as In Gravity not only showcases a broader spectrum of influences these gentlemen wish to incorporate into their sound, but also another vocal/bass shift in the lineup between records. Welcome Daniel Moran to the fold – also a part of Reaper, which is how he came to the attention of the group. While the previous albums showcased different facets to the weighty thrash and occasional progressive/death nuances that took place, the ten tracks here encompass a bit more of a hook-oriented, melodic emphasis, expanding into a niche that could capture a wider audience.

The jagged guitars along with comforting, alternative/clean melodies create this dynamic overflow of energy as certain songs ebb and flow like the rising and descension of the tide. “Breaker” for instance shifts between some post-grunge/metalcore-like musical passages before a burst of jackhammer rhythms crush the sonic landscape – all the while Daniel stretching his delivery into comfortable modern rock/ arena-level mastery a la Alter Bridge. Do not fear, these lads still have the occasional speedy, tremolo-accented deadliness, as “Judgement” easily illustrates in its heavier sequences next to the comforting 90s-like Metallica influences, the lead work of Nathan Sadd spine-tingling. Conscientious attention to massive mid-tempo pounding sledgehammer tempos wrapped around monstrous riffs of the Machine Head/Gojira-like category can quickly mutate into addictive melodic thrash or power parts – assuring the listeners a multi-layered appeal as they take in these tracks consistently.

UK metalcore kings Bleed From Within vocalist Scott Kennedy delivers a key assist on the title track – but the most surprising song takes place near the back third of the record in the six-minute plus “Absolution”. A mysterious ballad, the thoughtful clean guitars from Chris Martin next to a calmer drum presence courtesy of Chris Williams soon transforms into this thunderous electric offering where all four musicians come together as one to deliver a pinnacle track that should resonate with every follower of the global metal community. The alignment with Jens Bogren as producer (Amon Amarth, Amorphis, Sepultura) makes the Shrapnel sound even tougher, more modern, without sacrificing the establishment of what gave them attention through their previous discography.

Highlights for In Gravity include the dual guitar harmony blazing “Rust” that mirrors classic Megadeth as well as steel-churning “Guardian” where it appears that Daniel is going to bust his larynx through the savage verses. Not a bad cut in the bunch, Shrapnel took the time away from 2020’s Palace For the Insane record to assess what the next chapter should be to hopefully establish an even stronger, wider audience yet not alienate the faithful – and that’s been achieved to a great degree here.

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8 / 10