Four years after their debut album, the Egyptian band Riverwood has returned with a new work entitled: SHADOWS AND FLAMES, an independently styled double album. We are facing a true musical delicacy impossible to ignore. The album is divided into two chapters; the first is SHADOWS, and the second is FLAMES. In both cases we hear an incredible mix of distorted guitars with perfectly mixed and produced orchestrations.
The musical quality of this album, both in terms of composition and production, is incredible. The way in which they combine different sounds without any being shipwrecked in the mix is surprising, an example of this is the song “Blood and Wine”. In addition to that, his musical style perfectly combines the sound of distortion with melodies and scales typical of the Middle East, without sounding forced or out of place. They handle both styles with a very enjoyable naturalness.
The songs on this album are very peculiar in their duration, since we can listen to very short pieces that barely exceed a minute in duration and are immediately followed by another 10-minute work. There is no middle ground here. This is a very risky move that shows us the enormous confidence that the band has in its compositional capacities.
Mahmoud Nader’s voice sounds through gutturals, but also a clean voice; in both cases he does it very well. A great example of his vocal ability is the opening piece of the album: “The Dragonborn Comes (Dovahkiin).” The vocalist has a timbre that blends perfectly with the Middle Eastern style they sound.
The work of the rest of the musicians is phenomenal. They know perfectly the atmosphere they want to build and they achieve it without any problem, either through acoustic guitars; a totally clean and understandable bass and even instrumental passages that technically sparkle.
Riverwood has made an incredible album. They must feel overly satisfied, because this double album shines with great intensity in all its edges: composition, production, interpretation and even concept. This album makes Riverwood a true gem of the Egyptian scene.