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Shadows Dance - A quatrain for the damned 4/5

Reviewed: 3-4-05


1. Licking the limbs of abyss
2. Last kiss
3. Until the young whore sings
4. Dance in the storm
5. Swathe me into illusions
6. My christ was dark
7. Hot cruel masque

This is a very interesting CD, and it took a little while to grow on me. After a few spins, I would have handed out a rating of 3 points at the most. But as the number of listens has grown, the CD has succeeded at grabbing hold of me. It’s very dark, maybe a blend of symphonic metal, power metal and gothic metal. There are some good choirs, some violins, and even some faster songs with catchy riffs. I really hear a strong Therion influence and early Theatre of Tragedy is present as well, but there’s also a hint of Nightwish. The difference between Shadows Dance and these bands is definitely the “dark” atmosphere mentioned though, so fans of the more upbeat songs of bands like Nightwish might not be able to quickly get into the band’s sound.

Vocally, the band is also a bit off the normal path. We get a variety of male vocals (mostly deep but clear, which really add to the “dark” atmosphere) and superb female soprano vocals. The majority of the vocals are male, but this ends up being a plus for the band. Being a big lover of female vocals, I’ve found that as I finish each listen of this CD, I’m still yearning for more of the female vocals. They’re excellent and highlight the songs, rather than dominate them. It’s a perfect balance that ends up being the key to repeated listens.

Favorite songs of mine would have to be the catchy track 2 “Last kiss”, the fast-paced track 4 “Dance in the storm”, and I can’t get the female vocals on track 5 “Swathe me into illusions” out of my head! The crunchy riffs that start the final track “Hot cruel masque” are very powerful, and leave me wanting to start the CD all over again. This certainly won’t be for everyone, but fans of Therion could easily find this to be a favorite. With a running time of under 40 minutes, catchy songwriting was a must. This is something they’ve totally accomplished in my mind, and this ends up being an awesome debut!




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