(Today we present the following guest review by Lonegoat [from the Necroclassical project Goatcraft] of the forthcoming debut album by Pittsburgh-based Shadow Legion.)
The enigmatic genesis of “Dark Metal” traces back to the murky depths of the underground past, entered into lexicon by Bethlehem‘s daring 1994 opus, fittingly titled Dark Metal. Closer inspection of the “Dark Metal” categorization reveals a bewitching amalgam; an alchemical union merging the raw essences of heavy metal, death metal, and black metal, seasoned with an infusion of epic and pagan elements.
While Aeternus remains cryptic on the matter, they undoubtedly embody this heterogeneous blending, as do other bands such as Mefitis, who enthusiastically embrace the appellation to chart their own perplexing course within this realm. Pendath, a luminary of Mefitis, also corroborates this perspective, adding that “Dark Metal” defies codified classification while displaying an ineffable melancholy that transcends the rational mind, arousing an intuitive sensibility positioned beneath the surface. In addition, Serpent Ascending‘s acclaimed 2022 opus, Hyperborean Folklore, dutifully explores this synthesis as well.
Shadow Legion‘s lengthy debut album, which comes out on August 9th, firmly embeds itself in the domain of “Dark Metal.” At its molten core, a blistering display of guitar virtuosity rivals the legendary mastery of Trey Azagthoth, setting the band apart from their peers and charging the music with electrifying transcendence. The dance of visceral, melodic, and warlike percussive riffs, often extant for prolonged periods, casts a dark martial atmosphere. As is the trait of “Dark Metal,” the influences of epic heavy metal, death metal, and black metal coalesce seamlessly in an intuitive framework, and palatial acoustic sections offer moments of majestic respite.
Moving fluidly across a diverse spectrum, the mercurial vocal delivery navigates between stridently harsh, sky-piercing exaltations and operatic declamations, adeptly evading the pitfalls of excessive flamboyance often associated with power metal. The interplay of vocal modulations, often restrained in their individual ranges, fashions an enchanting mixture of richness and narrative, culminating in an indissoluble pilgrimage through the shadows of existence.
Of note is the inclusion of Brian Malone, the lead guitarist whose past exploits with the death metal juggernaut Diabolic have unequivocally etched his name in the hallowed annals of riff-craft and guitar virtuosity. The lamentable dearth of his talent during Diabolic‘s unauthorized and inauthentic metamorphosis brought with it a discernible waning of quality. But the cosmic cadence now resonates again with ineffable ferocity as Malone‘s triumphant reentry regales extreme metal with his unparalleled lead guitar virtuosity. This emphatic resurgence amplifies the incontestable significance of his invaluable contributions, solidifying his respected place within the pantheon of “Dark Metal” visionaries.
Shadow Legion, which features cover art by Adam Burke, will be released on CD and digital formats, an more info is available through the links below: