Shadowkeep – Shadowkeep
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 30/03/2018
Running Time: 55:01
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
I got excited when the latest album by Shadowkeep dropped into my inbox and, as it had also landed in the Ever Metal inbox, Rick said I might as well be the one to review it.
But, let me tell you a bit about the history of the band before we get to the album.
Shadowkeep are an English heavy metal band from Guildford in Surrey and were formed in 1999 by guitarists Chris Allen (ex-Intense and Sire) and Nikki Robson (also ex-Sire) and Belgian vocalist, Rogue Marechal (ex-Halcyon). They recorded their debut six-track EP at Thin Ice Studios in Surrey, England, in October 1999, an EP that was produced by fellow English rocker, Threshold’s guitarist and producer, Karl Groom, and a couple of albums followed.
Despite the longevity of the band, there have been numerous line up changes over the years and 2012 saw the appearance of the band’s TENTH incarnation! But now, 2018, sees them striking back with a new album, their 4th studio album and the first for ten years, and a new singer (this is the bit I got excited about!!)
None other than James Rivera, formerly of Seven Witches and currently of Helstar, has joined the quintet after they approached him to sing on their new album. But, with the addition of the 58-year-old Texan, comes a few changes to the band’s sound and dynamics. Previously compared to the more progressive bands, such as Queensryche and Crimson Glory, the new album takes them more in the direction of classic 80’s US metal, with James and his distinctive voice putting their stamp on the 11 new tracks.
So, what of the new album? I have listened to it numerous times and I still can’t make my mind up about it.
Musically, the guys are on top form. The duel guitar harmonies and riff based rhythmic work give the album an obvious aggression that all good metal albums should have, and Rivera’s voice is just as good as it has always been.
Having not really heard much of the band’s past music, I have nothing to compare this to, but what I have read while researching them, is that the previous offering was a lot more subdued than this. Now, I don’t know whether that is due to the introduction of Rivera, or whether the guys have just decided to do things differently this time round, but what it does mean, is that this album is dangerously close to sounding just like “any other Helstar album”.
Speed and power metal aspects are greatly emphasized is this album, the whole theme being Greek mythology and stories of other Mediterranean cultures (typical in the power metal scene). All, that is, except “Never Forgotten” which is a homage to the British soldiers of World War 1.
I have seen reviews of this album state that Rivera dominates while others say that he is nearly obliterated, (how interesting it is to see how differently reviewers see things), but my two pennies worth would be that Rivera has obviously had an influence over the album, although I am not entirely convinced that this is a good thing.
I like variety in metal, but this album sounds just like any other epic power/speed metal album. Although the songs are good, there is nothing on it that stands out from the rest and really grabs you by the balls. I couldn’t tell you my favourite song on it because I don’t really have one. I like and dislike them all just as much as each other.
If you like riff-laden, meaty, speed metal then this album will be right for you, but for those of you who are looking for that little bit extra…..well, you are not going to find it here!
But, I am just one of many and you might have a different opinion to me! Check it out. It’s not one of the best albums out there but it’s still a worthy addition to any metalhead’s collection.
02. Guardian of The Sea
03. Flight Across the Sand
04. Horse of War
05. Little Lion
06. Angels and Omens
08. Never Forgotten
09. The Sword of Damocles
10. Immortal Drifter
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.