Reviewed: April 2000
Released: 1999, Independent
What a find!! I had come across Shadow Keep while checking out some new bands on the web. They had a cool name so I figured I would download a song (legally of course) and check them out. I was literally blown away! I couldn’t believe it. This song was awesome! Where had this band been hiding. I downloaded another song and again I was in metal heaven. Now here I am almost 3 months later and I finally have the Shadow Keep CD in my hands. Now what really impresses me about this disc is that it was recorded when the band was only months old. Shadow Keep was formed in March of 1999 in the U.K. by guitarists Chris Allen and Nicki Robson. The lineup is rounded out by Rogue M. on vocals, James Daley: bass and Russell King on drums. Late in 1999 they went into Thin Ice Studios and recorded “6 Track Mini Album”.
A strong point of “6 Song Mini Album” is that it is so professional sounding which is great for a band which was literally only months old when it was recorded. Their music is (to use an overused term) progressive power metal. However they lie more in the realm of Queensryche, Fates Warning and Crimson Glory than with Rhapsody or Labyrinth. Rogue M. sounds like a cross between Midnight of Crimson Glory, Geoff Tate of Queensryche (in the early days) with just a hint of Geddy Lee of Rush thrown in to make things interesting. He was actually what grabbed my attention on the first song but I then realized that the band was great too. The opening track is “Dark Tower” this is possibly the best song on the disc. This song has everything: strong vocals, awesome riffs, a great solo, great lyrics and awesome drumming. Up next is “Inner Sanctum”. This is a more mid paced tune backed by a great double bass beat by King. This CD is only 6 songs but none of them is filler. Each one stands on its own merits. “The Altar of Madness” is a bit more up tempo while “Cast Out” is the fastest of the bunch with a more straight ahead power metal feel ala Hammerfall. The disc closes out with 2 more great tracks called “The Silver Sword” and “Murder”. “The Silver Sword” is a slower track with a Queensryche feel and makes good use of acoustic guitar, Rogues M’s vocal work and double bass drumming to create a standout song. The closer is “Murder” I can’t stop listening to this song! A great track to finish out a great CD.
Its hard to believe that these guys (and 1 girl) are not signed to a label. For a young band they certainly have their act together. What more can I say? If you are a fan of Queensryche or Crimson Glory you need to get this CD. If you would like to find out more about Shadow Keep your can check out their website www.shadowkeep.co.uk .
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