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Where the Shadows Lie
Released: 2002, Napalm
An absolutely classic case of never judge a book/CD by it’s cover. I threw this puppy in expecting full-on pure melodic power metal a la Rhapsody. All the signs were there. The cover adorned with a mighty warrior with blond hair wielding his mighty sword about to do battle with a monstrous black giant and his monstrous hammer of war. The song titles were a dead giveaway, or so I thought! Songs like had me thinking, “I know what this is all about!” How wrong I was. Imagine my surprise when what came rolling out of my speakers was not squeaky clean, melodic, power metal but a delightful mixture of many styles of metal. Once the initial shock wore off from my pre-conceived notions I was treated to a fantastic album of depth and substance.
Battlelore, musically speaking, cover a lot of ground but without being schizophrenic. They dabble in death, doom, power and even rare touches of black metal on this disc. Over all to me this disc, if you must compare, reminded me of older Crematory. There is a nice combination of several vocals styles, clean, gruff, harsh and female. There are actually seven people in this band, the “extra” two members being a male vocalist and a female vocalist. They all dress in medieval garb and have a nice array of weaponry, and this imagery compliments the music and adds visual appeal.
The production is thick, warm and full, and a nice compliment to music of this nature. The caliber of the musical performance is very good, but not utterly stellar. I don’t think this is the kind of band where flashy, individual showmanship rules the day, but where everyone is competent and solid. There are some nice solos but they avoid all-out shred fests.
Usually I don’t bother to quote promo literature from the label about their own band, but in rare cases like this one they are pretty dead on. For example, “Playing epic fantasy metal they incorporate elements of Gothic, black metal and Pagan music into their sound.” That really does nicely describe the style of Battlelore. It is interesting to see that Napalm picked these guys up!
Where Shadows Lie is a solid entry into a sub-genre of metal that some argue is becoming crowded and derivative. Although not stunning, this is a good strong debut--I will enjoy this disc for years to come. It has depth and staying power and I’m already looking forward to number two!
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