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Shadowicon - Empire in ruins 4/5

Reviewed: 4-1-12


1. Before the storm
2. On the ides of march
3. A new chapter
4. Lex titia
5. Endless shades of pain
6. Eastbound
7. King of kings
8. The alliance
9. Battle of Actium
10. Deceptive dreams
11. The haunting
12. End of days
13. Immortal

Not a lot of metal comes out of Slovenia, but along with the fairly new band Aperion, Shadowicon is attempting to put Slovenia on the map of female fronted metal with their full-length debut 'Empire in ruins'. The band is fronted by Ana Prijatelj, who can simply be described as a "regular" vocalist, as opposed to an operatic or extra-rough/aggressive one. She sings with a lot of emotion, seems to hit all of the notes, and should be considered a great vocalist in my mind. Along with the rest of the band, she's young, so she's certainly off to a strong start.

As for musical style, the band mostly lies within the realm of power metal, but they incorporate plenty of gothic metal and symphonic metal. Actually, for those who regularly enjoy a blend of those 3 styles, this may be perfect for you. While many band comparisons would work with this band, I'm going to simply describe them as a blend of Edenbridge, Leaves' Eyes, Elis and Dawn of Destiny, which should give you a good idea of what to expect from this band. Thankfully, many of the songs contain a more than satisfying amount of speed, but at the same time, not too much speed that could deter major gothic metal fans. Seriously, throughout the entire CD, the mix of styles is well done, the variety of tempo is perfect, and the use of 2 guitarists (Tomaž Lovšin and Bojan Kostanjšek) really creates some terrific guitar work.

What surprises me the most about this CD is the high level of talent and songwriting skills present. Considering this is just a debut, from a young band, and from a country that doesn't constantly churn out metal (like Germany, Sweden or Finland, for examples), it's truly amazing what this CD has to offer. In addition, it's about 75 minutes long, and even though I don't usually like CDs of that extreme length, not even one time have I felt the need to end a spin and move onto the next CD in my listening rotation. The CD is thoroughly successful at grabbing my attention, and it's very consistent regarding quality. Songs don't stand out as majorly blowing me away, or as bad/weak either - they all hover around a level of great to excellent, though I will pick out the memorable track 12 "End of days" as my favorite.

With there being so many female fronted metal bands these days, it's surely hard for fans to decide which ones to invest their time and money on. This particular CD is one that I feel fans of female fronted metal should immediately give some attention to, as it's one of the stronger debuts I've heard recently. Highly recommended!




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