Album Reviews

Burning Shadows – Gather, Darkness! Review

Released By : Self-Released

Genre : Heavy Metal

Link : http://burningshadows.com

 

Lineup:

Tom Davey – Vocals

Matt Ibach – Guitar

Greg Jones – Guitar

Tim Regan – Guitar, Bass

David Spencer – Drums

 

Tracklist:

01. Hymn To Sathanas

02. A New Dark Age

03. Intra Vires

04. Onward

05. The Witchmark

06. Man From Myth

07. Cast Them Down

08. Kingdoms Fall

09. Abandonment

10. To Assent The Fall

11. The Infamous Dawn

 

GATHER, DARKNESS is the second full-length album from Maryland, USA based Metallers BURNING SHADOWS. In that grand old metal tradition, GATHER, DARKNESS is a concept album and it’s based around the sci-fi novel of the same name, written by Fritz Leiber which was originally serialized in sci-fi magazine ANALOG in 1943. Obviously attempting to fit an entire novel into an album’s worth of song lyrics is a hard task and there’s sure to be plenty left behind, but the band seems to have done quite well in this regard and have kept the writing tight but still managed to find enough time to have plenty to say.

The basic gist of the storyline here is that 300 years after a nuclear holocaust in a debilitated world where all technology and science has been decimated, a conglomerate of priests of the highest order are secretly using the lost science in a way to trick the masses into believing that they are all-powerful gods.  Well’ eventually the façade is brought down which in turn leads to an epic, future-shaping holy war.  Well, there’s more to it that that but as much as I enjoy reading novels, writing a synopsis for them is another thing entirely.

But on to the music though yes? Okay then… Well, the easiest way to describe what BURNING SHADOWS sound like is just calling them good old…HEAVY METAL!  Yes, that traditional metal sound is the most evident influence here and of course that means at times there’s a bit of a Power Metal vibe, sometime a NWOBHM feel….Basically a great combination of all this classic in metal. Some comparison bands would be BLIND GUARDIAN and ICED EARTH but with some IRON MAIDEN style guitar riffs here and there too. So that takes the originality discussion off the table, which is fine by me, it’s always nice to have well-written traditional metal albums on the shelves. I do have a couple of small critiques here though, but they are relatively minor and shouldn’t be enough to put anybody off checking this album out as soon as possible. My first slight complaint is that some of the guitar runs feel a little forced here and there.  The riffing is very good and the solo work offers plenty too, but the small runs, usually at the end of a good riff just feel as if they could have been done a little better. I also felt that the vocals weren’t quite up to par in some places. The band’s lead vocalist Tom Davy certainly has a unique approach that is much darker and has a bit of a gothic, sinister feel to it, something different for the genre that’s for sure. For most of the album his vocals are good enough but I really needed a few breakout moments here the vocals dominate the album, this really didn’t happen and I think Davy’s vocals will probably have to improve a little bit more before BURNING SHADOWS get any attention from labels and such. But on the other hand he adds a unique timbre that should be embraced and work on slightly rather than changed totally.

I was interested in the band’s decision to include two instrumental numbers into an album that is trying to fit a story into it, but these are the type of things this band seem to be good at. The actual concept here and the lyrical approach taken by the band does do justice to the source material amazingly enough and the album is a tight, continuously evolving story that demands your attention all the way through and keeps you excited right to the very end.  GATHER, DARKNESS is certainly worth checking out if you like traditional metal of any kind, especially if concept albums and good story-lines are your thing.   I will keenly await to see what BURNING SHADOWS do next, there’s not a lot they need to do to get to that next level…I hope they get there!

 

Written By ZeeZee

Rating : 7/10

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