Warrel Dane – Shadow Work

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Reviewed: November, 2018
Released: 2018, Century Media Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Erich

Last December, the metal world was delivered the news of another shocking early death when former Nevermore and Sanctuary front man Warrel Dane passed away. Dane was working on a solo album in Sao Paulo, Brazil at the time, and on October 26, SHADOW WORK was released posthumously. The album is the inventive singer’s second solo offering, coming ten years after the excellent PRAISES TO THE WAR MACHINE. Dane’s bandmates managed to complete the album by combining his vocals recorded at different studios with pre-production tracks. Despite the splicing together, the album does not sound unfinished and serves as a fitting final chapter for Dane’s dark and tortured muse. The album artwork visually captures Dane’s vision, another in a triumphant list from graphic artist Travis Smith.

SHADOW WORK, not surprisingly, sounds much like Nevermore and the most recent Sanctuary album. Riffs are down-tune, progressive and labyrinthine. Interspersed along the snaking path are dark melodies delivered by guitarists Thiago Oliveira and Johnny Moraes. As is often the case, Dane saves the connecting and most thought-provoking passages come chorus time. Dane’s penchant for taking covers and metalizing them with his own vision is again displayed in a cover of The Cure’s “The Hanging Garden.” This is in fact the most leaden song on the album, pummeling the listener with aggressive percussion and cutting riffs.

Concluding the album is “Mother Is The Word For God” a melancholy semi-ballad of the type Dane has been composing since “Dreaming Neon Black.” Eight songs in and it is over, likely the last music we will ever get from Dane, barring some buried outtakes and demos. SHADOW WORK is, like most albums with Dane’s stamp, one that reveals its nooks and crannies over time. Few will be able to completely absorb it on first listen. This is perhaps the greatest parting gift that we could have gotten, an album that can be returned to again and again and each time hear something new to appreciate. RIP Warrel Dane and thank you for the music.


Track Listing:

01. Ethereal Blessing
02. Madame Satan
03. Disconnection System
04. As Fast as the Others
05. Shadow Work
06. The Hanging Garden
07. Rain
08. Mother Is the Word for God


Warrel Dane – Vocals
Thiago Oliveira – Guitars
Johnny Moraes – Guitars
Fabio Carito – Bass
Marcus Dotta – Drums