Reviewed: April 2018
Released: April 13th, 2018, M-Theory Audio
Rating: 5 / 5
Reviewer: John Haseltine
When I first read the press release for Sacramento, California’s Graveshadow, I automatically thought, okay, whatever. A symphonic / gothic / power metal band from Northern California? How is this going to play out? Well, as you can see by the rating I give AMBITION”S PRICE, it played out well.
I must say, I was quite amazed while just running through this album for the first time. Prior to actually listening to it, I did a little of the usual research on the band to find many reviewers sticking their first album as a close runner with Nightwish. It was highly acclaimed by many. I can say I do have a couple Nightwish albums and was once again wondering how it would play out. (Again, rating above)
So Graveshadow was formed in 2012, so an actual great ‘new’ metal band. The band is fronted by the powerhouse vocals of none other than Heather Michele. I type that like you should know her name. Trust me, you will soon enough. She has a range on this album that goes from operatic highs to guttural growls that almost tear right through you. Each and every range she sings through is done with perfection. The ability for one to have such a beautiful clean range (this goes for male vocalists too) and mix in the unearthly howls as she pulls off with such ease is astounding. I’m not sure there are many vocalists out there that would even be able to attempt it.
Musically, the band comes off as extremely competent at their craft. I like all the genres they represent. Only as long as it is done correctly and with style. I can honestly say I lean more towards the power metal side. Power metal is the one side that is a bit absent here. To me, and we all have our own opinions, but there is a bit more thrash element here then what is being advertised. Maybe a marketing scheme, none the less, it is there. Very Arch Enemy style as well. I’m just saying.
So I have given this a perfect score. According to the site by-laws, a 5.0 is an album or release that is, ‘ground breaking, amazing, and or mind blowing’. This album is all of them and much much more. For those who know me, a perfect score is rarely given by me. It is my first for Metal-Rules and only sits alongside a few in my many years of reviewing.
So do yourselves a favor and check out Graveshadow. You will not be disappointed. This is definitely one for fans of Amaranthe, Nightwish, Sirenia, Epica, and even Arch Enemy. I do however feel a bit for the aforementioned bands. While all are great in their own right for their genre defying contributions to the world of heavy metal, Graveshadow may just be the band to knock you off your thrones! (No disrespect intended.)
Umm, what else? Oh yeah I remember, love it!