Released: 2013, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Washington DC power metallers Burning Shadows give you the impression they like to be seen treading the righteous path of true metal, with the sort of zeal normally associated with acts such as, Iced Earth and Manowar. Forming back in 2000, it wasn’t until new singer Tom Davy joined the ranks in 2009 that the band really found their feet, soon releasing the OATHBREAKER EP to some acclaim.
Going for broke with a sprawling concept album is a bold move, even for a group that moniker their particular brand of rock with the word epic. Basing ‘Gather, Darkness’; a Fritz Leiber novel of the same name, the album is divided into movements of several songs, with an intro that is more classic orchestral than metal. It’s a finely written piece though, which guides you nicely into the heart of things. The music that Burning Shadows play is the kind that’s been around a while, so for it to make any real impact it has to stand out and go that extra mile, which in the case of ‘Gather, Darkness!’ it does! In fact, this is an album which actually lives up to its grand concept. Sure, the album can be a bit predictable here and there but with the twin guitars of Greg Jones and Tim Regan pulling no punches and Davy’s capable vocals capturing the spirit of where it all began, this is one not just for purists, but for newer fans too.
The story book theme works well, coming across unsurprisingly like a latter day rock and opera elements in places. It has real stand out moments like the dramatic ‘Man From Myth’, but also suffers from long windedness in places, most notably on ‘Kingdoms Fall’ which runs out of steam trying to convey just a tad too much of Leiber’s penmanship. While some bands shuffle along playing it safe, ‘Burning Shadows’ have taken the brave step of at least trying to create something new and their efforts do involve the odd flaw, but by large they’ve succeeded in what they set out to do.
In many ways they’ve exceeded my expectations and in doing so rekindled my love of pure horns up metal. If their music can work a bit of magic on a ‘heard it all before’ sound, then I’m sure it’ll be something plenty more will want to hear too!
Review by Gary Trueman