Release DetailsLABEL Osmose Productions
RELEASED ON 3/15/2004
Ante Christum (Natum)
posted on 3/2004 By:
Remember when Robin Williams was a coke head? Remember how he could be hugely entertaining but also insanely hard to follow at the same time? Well, Poland’s Shadows Land are the Robin Williams of death metal. Part Behemoth, part Atheist, part Ephel Duath, all sonic mindfuck, Shadows Land's hybrid of semi futuristic/technical death/black metal is at times so convoluted and simply sidetracked it loses its initial bursts of entertaining luster.
Whereas band such as Theory in Practice have their technicality down to an orchestrated fine art, Shadows Land come across as more random and chaotic, especially with their use of samples and programmed elements quite frequently. As their base level, when belting out their rare simplistic death metal churnings, they sound like any of the Vader/Behemoth clones, so initially their adventurous nature breaks them from the pack with a pleasing edge, but soon, the quirky nature of many of the song structures devolve into weird, off kilter territory that falls victim to its own audacity as the ‘strange-o-meter’ rises.
You know you are in for a bizarre ride as “Hybrid” erupts with seeming no structure whatsoever, like when Robin Williams went into one of his sidetracked mindless self improved rants, you're left wondering what the heck you just heard, but also pondering if it was genius or altered state of mind. It doesn’t tone down much for “My Name Are Three Sixes”, but its blastbeat is slightly tempered within the otherworldly aura in the rest of the song, plus its final few moments are well worth the mired eclectics. It’s one of the rare songs that treads that finite line between adventurous proclivity and retaining death metal’s bite. The strange vocals twists of “Z Page-Ia-Idon Odomicalzo” (?????), give a decent song an other wise undesirably strange lean, that bridges suitably into the dance beat/trip-hop instrumental “Decimal”. But just like that, “Last Way” blazes with typical (but painfully brief) Polish death metal vigor, and even a strong, melodic guitar solo. However, it’s back to the unpredictable (take that as good or bad) stuttering rhythms of “Vortex”, again with squirly clean vocals and spacey synths. It’s as if Fear Factory overdosed on shrooms while being collectively tea-bagged by Vader.
Shadows Land are simply better when delivering single minded, if not forward thinking, technical death metal as shown in “You Are God” and “I’m Dead”. When rendered with less forced spasms of sonic quirkiness and cyber-ish leanings, Shadows Land are rather impressive, but they often drown out their own talent with needless tangents and bizarre musings (“Flash”) that take away from the other wise proficient death metal buried within. Ephel Duath, Lux Occulta and Solefald bring some level of schizoid personality to black/death metal, but Shadows Land still seem to be finding themselves (I’m not surprised to learn they started out as a full on Doom act, before changing styles), with heavy footsteps into sonic eclectics rather than delicately laced alternative insertions of the afore mentioned acts.
To their credit, they did find a production that suits their sound perfectly with a curiously buzzing guitar and semi programmed sounding drums that are just as off kilter as their songs. An…..interesting album to say the least that has promise but some fine tuning is definitely needed.
“Z Page-Ia-Idon Odomicalzo”. I just wanted to type that again.
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