Released earlier this year with a more recent and wider reboot, Rumours of a Coming Dawn is the debut album from Swizz metallers Shadowpath. It is also one of those encounters which certainly makes a strong impression first time around but grows in potency and pleasure as subsequent ventures into its depths reveals the true imagination and craft at its heart.
Originally called Wishpond, Shadowpath weave a multi-flavoured sound drawn from the attributes of power and symphonic to progressive and death metal, taking in inspirations ranging from Opeth, Dark Tranquillity, Everon, J.S. Bach, Katatonia, Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Tesseract, Dream Theater, and Nightwish amongst many others. The band’s personnel has changed a fair bit over time but by 2015, the line-up of vocalist Gisselle Rousseau, keyboardist/vocalist/songwriter Philipp Bohny, guitarist Stefano Riario, bassist Amos Zürcher, and drummer Samuel Baumann came together and proceeded to work on this first album across the following year.
Each of the eight tracks within Rumours of a Coming Dawn are individual slices of creative theatre in an overall play, many epic productions and all woven and cast upon the listener with an instinctive passion and imagination. Each also provides a web of layers and textures which unveils new twists and fresh aspects with every listen, a major reason why it grows in impressiveness over attentive time.
The opening introduction of Prelude to Agony is the most straight forward proposal of all within the album, its invitation an atmospheric overture to things to come. Its stormy entrance brings with it the elegant melancholy of the piano and as swiftly the vocal prowess of Rousseau. Her harmonic cries then spark the more portentous air of storm and track with rhythms imposing yet restrained and melodies funereal even in their liveliness as flames of guitar descend. It is an imagination stirring start soon spawning the tempestuous throes of Chaos Equation. Instantly guitars and keys collude in a magnetic tapestry, the grumble of the bass and senses clipping beats lining the heated union with darker almost predacious hues. Rousseau’s symphonic nurtured delivery is a glassy reflection of word and emotion and superbly contrasted by Bohny’s earthy growls; it all uniting for a captivating tempest as potent in its electronic invention as in its extreme metal bred trespass.
The following Seed of Hope makes a calmer entrance, Rousseau and piano aligning their melodic suggestiveness before a rise of dark drama erupts, settling down again to begin repeating the dramatic cycle. As its predecessor, the track has many familiar aspects to it and plenty of unique features which combine for a compelling and increasingly striking proposal. The individual craft of the band is inescapable; Bohny and Riario especially grabbing attention within the song though as it evolves everyone makes a rich impact.
Every track is an adventure never settling into one direction, perpetually unpredictable and as a result fascinating though none more so than the album’s best moment, The Impossible Chain. It easily outshines those around it, instantly stirring the passions with its outstanding start. The dark noir stroll of the bass within the dancing threat of drums is simply delicious, manna to personal tastes and things only escalate in pleasure as keys spread their suggestive wash and guitars spring their devilish almost salacious tempting. Once Bohny’s raw throated tones open with demonic intimidation, the track has an unshakeable grip. Then mellower twists and harmonic beauty comes with skittish rhythms, the climate change as beguiling as the aggressive trespasses are thrilling, as too is Rousseau varying her more expected symphonic metal delivery with more organic and grounded exploits, an excellent move hopefully she will explore further ahead as it equally stands out over the next pair of songs. A scenic break midway in the song is just a tempting breath before it returns to even more adventurous and surprising endeavours, setting a major pinnacle within the release by its conclusion.
Next up Another Inquisitor makes a thick attempt at rivalling its majesty, the song an intricately designed maze of electronic, melodic, and fierce metal dexterity with folk seeded progressiveness. Rousseau again pushes her range and adventure to fine effect whilst musically the song never gives a moment to settle in one flavour or style, again to rich success before Deny me opens like a relaxed bloom into a fiery display of sonic colour and creative magnetism. Though it does not quite match up to the previous two, the song simply enthrals from start to finish.
The album concludes through firstly For a Final Ultimatum, a cauldron of contrasting often battling textures and inescapably infectious enterprise, and finally Beta, a mercurial serenade of self-reflection and melancholic fire which ebbs and flows in volatility as it charms ears and imagination. It is a thunderous finale to the album, even in its calm flights having an instinctive power which lends to its vice like hold on attention.
Shadowpath create music which manages to be chilling and haunting as simultaneously it is warm and inviting, threatening and ravaging. The evidence is all there within Rumours of a Coming Dawn, a release which may not be perfect but has all the seeds to evoke real enjoyment and the anticipation of major things ahead.
Rumours of a Coming Dawn is available now through the band’s Facebook page and website.
Pete RingMaster 01/12/2017
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