Shadowkeep - Shadowkeep

Shadowkeep - Shadowkeep

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(CD, Pure Steel Records, 2018)

I had dismissed SHADOWKEEP as a wimpy Power Metal band after giving what most likely would have been the band’s second album, “A Chaos Theory”, half a spin. Seeing them live some years later made me change my mind as the show was nothing like what I'd heard on record and of course I had to do a dig down the vaults when I got back home. I still prefer the full length debut “Corruption Within” and, at that time brand new, “The Hourglass Effect” over the one first introducing me to the band. And now, a decade later, learning that SHADOWKEEP tapped James Rivera (HELSTAR, ex-VICIOUS RUMORS etc.) for the vocal duties, I got thrilled to dig into the new record, simply titled “Shadowkeep”. I think James has the ultimate voice for Progressive Heavy Metal.

After the mellow “Atlantis” intro, it all takes off with “Guardian Of The Sea”; a traditional riff for the genre topped off by James’ characteristic voice sends shivers down my spine. The complex structure and small licks and changes are appealing and it really hooks me in. The softer “Horse Of War” is another good example of the songwriting skills SHADOWKEEP possess. I just love Nicki Robson's and Chris Allen's guitar work in this one; there are a lot of fines in it as much happens but it still flows smoothly. James’ spine-chilling scream that starts the vocal lines on “Angeles And Omens” is another high point of the record. I really like the airy passage prior to the chorus line too. It gives the song dynamics.

Then, there are “Little Lion” and “Never Forgotten” with acoustic guitars solely and vocals. I think the latter of the two works the best as the melodies suit James vocal range much better. He's doing the heavy tracks phenomenally but these two doesn't really fit his thick and throaty tone. The match is perfect in “Immortal Drifter” though. The dark and epic track is definitely one of my favorites from the record. It is in chorus lines like this one James sound the best.

The downside with “Shadowkeep” is that, despite a lot of spins, I can hardly remember anything from it. I mean, I like it a lot when it's on, but trying to bring up the melodies or choruses just from the titles I cannot. Maybe I haven't listened to the record enough times yet. Maybe it comes around, but I do miss something striking to hook me in and sticks around even after the record is finished.

With that being said, I still think SHADOWKEEP have produced another really good piece of music on this, their fourth full length album, and I'm happy they are back.

7/10


Links:

www.ShadowkeepMetal.Co.Uk
www.MySpace.Com/ShadowkeepUk
www.FaceBook.Com/ShadowkeepMetal


Tracklist:

01. Atlantis
02. Guardian Of The Sea
03. Flight Across The Sand
04. Horse Of War
05. Little Lion
06. Angels And Omens
07. Isolation
08. Never Forgotten
09. The Sword Of Damocles
10. Immortal Drifter
11. Minotaur


Lineup:

James Rivera - Vocals
Chris Allen - Lead Guitar
Nicki Robson - Rhythm Guitar
Stony Grantham - Bass
Omar Hayes - Drums