Published May 01, 2020What do you get when you cross Converge, the Red Chord, Job for a Cowboy and Twitching Tongues? A supergroup that would pique the interest of any self-respecting metalhead, and a horribly cheesy article intro.
Umbra Vitae first drew the curtains back in March of 2020, releasing their stomach-churning single "Return to Zero." If the band's lineup on paper wasn't already enough to arouse excitement, "Return to Zero" certainly solidified the sentiment.
The single built up audience expectations further, promising a brand of death metal dripping in its influences. Each member's fingerprints can be found all over Shadow of Life, offering the album a lot of character and diversity. Each track is easily distinguishable from the next, something that often can't be said about death metal.
Inside the album's first three tracks (intro excluded), there are three completely different brands of death metal: blackened death shows up in "Ethereal Emptiness," Deathgrind in "Atheist Aesthetic," and "Mantra of Madness" exhibits a strong hardcore/thrash influence.
It's hard to temper expectations when listening to a supergroup, especially one with such a strong lineup, but Umbra Vitae definitely deliver a damn good death metal record.
Is Umbra Vitae greater than the sum of its parts? Probably not. But any fan of death metal will find something to love about Shadow of Life, which hopefully will give this supergroup more staying power than most. (Deathwish Inc.)