Shadow of Intent should be on every deathcore fan's radar. Earlier this year, we named the Connecticut band's brutal 2016 debut, Primordial, one of 15 essential deathcore albums, and on January 14th 2022 they'll release their fourth album, Elegy, via Blood Blast Distribution (pre-order it here).
Although the entire band is obviously responsible for their assaulting soundscapes, vocalist Ben Duerr is their secret weapon, given his commanding vocal presence that ranges from ravaging highs to blood-curdling lows. With a sound that falls somewhere between symphonic deathcore and technical death-metal, Duerr and Co. obviously have a wide swath of heavy influences, so we asked the frontman to choose 10 albums that made him the musician he is today.
From a "controversial" Behemoth LP to music that's "only paralleled by rabid, voracious animals at the kill," these are the records that left an indelible mark on Duerr's ongoing musical journey — and 10 albums that every extreme music fan should check out.
This was the first record I owned that tilted onto the heavier side of the metal spectrum. My mom was (and is) a huge Korn fan so I always heard their music as a young kid and grew very fond of it. I felt connected to it and it brought me happiness in times that weren't so great. This was directly responsible, I think, for me delving into heavier music the older I became.
This was one of the first symphonic metal records I'd found sometime around age 14. I couldn't believe the massive soundscape I was hearing at the time, especially with Nick Barker's top-tier drumming. I appreciated the fact they were writing outside what would be considered the "norm" for black metal. It's really inspiring stuff.
What a splendidly dark-sounding record. Christian Älvestam has proven time and time again that his capabilities and range are supreme in this genre. Though, this is my favorite work of his and I still listen to it frequently.
In my opinion, which may be controversial among other long time Behemoth fans, this album is a flawless masterpiece. They stepped outside the bounds of what we knew as Behemoth at the time, and completely revolutionized their sound. Their ability to convey such intense emotions and atmosphere through their music astonishes me. This was a new outlook on creativity at its finest hour.
While their 2014 release may be my favorite to listen to, when I heard this for the first time it left a huge impact on my perspective of extreme vocalists. Up until that point, I'd never heard such intense vocals in any band. Some of the sounds I was hearing were just absolutely blowing my mind. Only paralleled by rabid, voracious animals at the kill. Travis Ryan surely will go down as one of the best extreme vocalists of our time.
Aside from the killer riffs and drums on Deflorate, Trevor Strnad's vocal performance on this is one of my favorites of all time, and has heavily influenced both my own vocals and writing process today. His vocabulary use, cadence and enunciation is fantastic and I found it easy to digest and envision each song the way he was portraying it. 10/10 from me.
I've always been more inclined to enjoy heavy music with powerful extreme vocals over the quieter sort, and this to me as a teenager was one of the most exemplary performances of exactly that. It felt pissed. Coupled with the dark melodies of the album, it complemented the music wonderfully, which left an impact on me for sure. After all, I spent nearly every day for quite some time rehearsing to this record after school for around the better part of a year. It still remains my favorite release of theirs.
This was one of the first heavier records I stumbled across as a young kid. I'd yet to come across anything where someone could switch from such a lower tone, to the total opposite on the fly. Not to mention just how the vocals sounded in general. This album still holds a special place in my heart.
This is another record I was shown as a teenager that completely blew me away at the time. It's just so dark, so grim and pays proper homage to the evolution of death metal. But over all, Mikael Åkerfeldt's vocal tones and delivery floored me. I felt truly disgusted in the best way possible. If you've listened to any of my songs, you know this one left a heavy mark.
This was my introduction to death metal. I was 13 years old and just starting my freshman year of high school when a friend pulled me aside to show me some of the album in class. It felt like I'd found something I never knew I needed, but needed badly. I still listen to it all the time and it always feels like the first time every time. This album genuinely changed my life and I'm not sure I'd be here doing this today without the inspiration I gained from it.