Published on May 14th, 2018 | by Justin G.
Shadowkeep: Shadowkeep (Pure Steel)
It’s been a full decade since UK-based progressive/power metal band Shadowkeep last released an album. They resurfaced earlier this year with a new full-length, their fourth to date, titled simply Shadowkeep. Self-titled albums tend to serve as reinvention pieces, and Shadowkeep took a big step towards that by enlisting legendary Helstar vocalist James Rivera, who adds a whole new dimension to the band’s sound.
Shadowkeep’s brand of progressive/power metal has always emphasized the power side, and this is no different. Guitarists Chris Allen and Nicki Robson do serve up some fairly technical riffs and solos, but it’s heaviness, not virtuosity, that defines this album. That heaviness pairs perfectly with Rivera’s trademark banshee wail. He brings tremendous power and range, and yes, comparisons to Helstar. Shadowkeep is less speed-oriented than the average Helstar release, but it has similar power and atmosphere.
Shadowkeep isn’t a concept album, but a good number of its songs are based on mythology, which is always fertile ground for power metal songwriting. “Fight Across the Sand,” “Horse of War” and the 9-minute epic “Minotaur” are powerful standouts, but aside from a couple of not quite essential instrumental tracks, the whole album is very strong.
As reintroductions go, Shadowkeep definitely delivered an album that will make fans take notice. If you followed the band before, it’s hard to see this as anything but a big step forward. And if you missed them back in the LMP glory days (or weren’t blown away by them), the combination of songwriting, musicianship and instantly recognizable vocals should make you a Shadowkeep fan. Fans of bands like Tad Morose, Jag Panzer and of course Helstar in particular should give this one a go.
Summary: Power metal featuring James Rivera