(9/10) One of the most talented singers in metal, Warrel Dane, passed away on December 13th, 2017. The news hit the metal community hard. Grief and sadness were recognized everywhere. With his rather unique voice, Dane enriched albums of bands like Sanctuary and Nevermore and all of a sudden this voice became silent.
Therefore you might be surprised to read an album review for a Warrel Dane record. Dane was in Sao Paolo for recordings of a new album. The longplayer had the working title ‘Shadow Work’, a title that fits so well for context described earlier. All instruments have been recorded already and it has been the vocals Dane couldn’t finish. The album was supposed to have 80 minutes running time and due to the progress of work 41 minutes of music have been tracked during pre-production and recording session.
The cinematic ‘Ethereal Blessing’s starts the journey, followed by the uptempo ‘Madame Satan’. The songs have a mystical and dark vibe with guttural parts that might be unexpected. These parts are a positive distraction that goes perfectly together with the melodic chorus. Together with the enormous tempo in some parts the song is a highlight on this album.
‘Disconnection System’ is next and fires on all cylinders. Stunning riff power and Dane’s exquisite vocals create magic throughout and the same goes for the gloomy ‘As Fast as the Others’. The mid-tempo hymn puts, with its massive rhythm line and filigree solos a spell on you.
The title track, which is next on the track list, picks up the dark vibe and embeds it in this anthemic delivery. Dane reduces pace a lot with ‘Rain’. Calmer sections interact with a sonic outburst. Complexity and melody are equally represented in this track, leading the closer ‘Mother is the Word for God’. The epic 9 minutes songs is another highlight among highlights. The song transports a lot of feel, which catches your attention right away. Spiced-up with some acoustic parts the song unfolds its beauty all along the way with unexpected twists and turns.
What adds to the album is the artwork, done by Travis Smith. It supports the original concept for ‘Shadow Work’, based on the entire lyrics of the album and discussions Smith and Dane had earlier.
The initial plans have been to create an album with 80 minutes running time and obviously, it would have been a great one. Maybe the best Warrel Dane ever wrote and recorded. And even though the entire album couldn’t be finished it is great to enjoy at least these 42 minutes of brilliant metal music. ‘Shadow Work’ is one of the best releases in 2018 and it also shows how big the loss is. We will miss Warrel Dane and his voice, but it is this album that at least helps to reduce the pain. RIP Darrel.
- Ethereal Blessing
- Madame Satan
- Disconnection System
- As Fast As the Others
- Shadow Work
- The Hanging Garden
- Mother is the Word for God
Label: Century Media
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Release Date EU: October 26th, 2018