It’s the perfect time of year for a spooky tale, one that has you immersed in the mythology, grabbing the arm of someone next to you as your anxiety rises, exhaling as the heroes make their way through danger and live to see another day. You think about the journey for days, going over every twist and turn, examining each arc, and losing yourself in something that could rob you of your soul.
On that manner of thinking comes “Two Shadows,” the gothy, slithery, sometimes delightfully sugary debut record from Hoaxed, who piqued the interest at the folks over at metal stalwart Relapse Records. It’s a diverse roster, and this band—vocalist/guitarist Kat Keo and drummer Kim Coffel—fits comfortably as they’re not quite heavy enough to be pure metal but also punchy enough to be one of the darker, more intriguing members of that collection of bands. The record is nine tracks that flow forcefully, confidently, and melodically, an album that’s fun and foreboding, easily capable of capturing your heart and imagination as you take the dark path behind them to an experience that could leave you gasping in a puddle of cold sweat.
The title track opens the record and sets the scene as a brief instrumental with chilling winds and strange vibes that prepares you for what’s to come. “The Call” is a killer track, the first cut you’d send to radio if it that format had any guts. Keys drip as the energy rises, and the melodic energy belts you, driving you deeper into the dark. “The shadow comes for you when you least expect it to,” Keo warns as the track delves back into its endless supply of power, rounding out with the chorus. “The Knowing” enters in the void, crawling and sprawling, making your nerve endings react. “Don’t you want to know what your future holds? Don’t you want to know your fate?” Keo posits as a menacing spirits moves through you, the band’s catchy fire overwhelming you. The track punches, spookiness enthralls, and the tension finally ends when the threat subsides. “For Love” starts with a ticking clock and the melodies driving, moving into infectious strangeness. The verses surge as the chorus knocks you backward, cold synth unfurls like a dragging mist, and everything is swallowed in echo. “Grand Illusions” splits open and gnaws on you, Keo calling, “Falling freely into eternity, never ending into the uncertainty, not yours, watch your words.” Blood rushes as gloomy presences lurk behind you, everything blasting away.
“High Seas” fittingly fills the scene with rushing waters and organs haunting, the verses pumping vaporous energy that settles in your bones. The track is catchy as fuck, rewarding your willingness to confront chaos with them, and Keo howls, “I have lived, I have died, I have learned, the fates will lie,” as the playing lands in its final resting place. “Guilty Ones” is ominous as it dawns, sneaking toward you and making you nervous for cover. The drumming clubs as your adrenaline is forced to peak, your brain trying to protect you from what hides behind the shadows. “The judgment is final, no one can show you the way, the verdict is swift, hold on to your faith,” Keo warns, mystical dynamism taking hold and fading into mystery. “Where Good Won’t Go” opens in murky waters, setting the ambiance and pulling you deep into the tunnel with it. You’re forced to feel your way through, following as the story unfolds and trying to position yourself where any sliver of light is available. The track pulls back just a bit to let somber visions pop, and then the playing submits to the gloom and drains away. Closer “Forsaken” is slurry before it picks up speed, and the vibe feels like something born in a dingy garage with ghostly beings outside. “There’s blood in the water, the terrors descend, we were all destined for violent ends,” Keo calls as the playing jars, the pressure mounts, and the story ends with you gasping from your sleep.
Hoaxed have an excellent, easily digested debut full-length record with “Two Shadows,” an album that feels like dark horror adventure about a town that has no home and only claims victims. The playing is energetic and infectious, and you can’t help but fall victim to these nine tracks as the terrain unfolds before you. This record will capture your imagination, make your flesh chill with their morbid storytelling, and have the hooks rolling around in your heads for weeks on end.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/hoaxedband/
To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/hoaxed-two-shadows
For more on the label, go here: https://store.relapse.com/
This music is right up my ally…except the drums seem out of place. The constant use of double-bass is a little egregious and actually distracts from mood of the songs.