Shade Empire

Zero Nexus

Written by: NB on 12/10/2008 21:10:23

With their up-tempo debut and slightly heavier second release, the relatively unknown Shade Empire's brand of synth-backed, black metal was a refreshing break from a stagnating genre. Third time around they have chosen to move the sound forward with some interesting cross-genre fusion along with some of the more mainstream black-metal elements from the previous albums.

The majority of the tracks start with an original and grandiose riff, but in some cases the songs lose their way and the good intro degrades into generic, frantic drumming and unoriginal and irrelevant guitar lines in a standard black-metal soup. Fortunately, the ever present synth that is the staple of this band's music keeps things interesting through these parts of the album, with sweeping, orchestral, layered choruses and refrains.

This release is also vocally diverse. Amongst the regular high growls there are sections of atonal, clean vocals in a style that Finnish bands seem to have an unusual propensity for (think Norther or Nicole). One of the songs, "Adam and Eve" also employs the singing of Petra Lisitsin, making it sound very similar to Lacuna Coil. Disappointing however, are certain spoken word sections and other clean vocals which would have been truly great were it not for the totally underwhelming and weak voice of whoever is singing.

The fact that what, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of the album comes in the last five minutes of the last song sums up the lost potential of this whole record. The track "Victory" opens with a fairly unremarkable repeated verse and chorus, but then opens up into a haunting section of soaring female vocals, and then unexpectedly turns into an unashamed, jazz saxophone solo. If the band had dared to use these brave elements earlier on I feel it could have been an even more interesting release.

7

Download: Blood Colours the White, Harvesters of Death, Victory

For the fans of: The Berserker, Norther

Listen: Myspace

Release date 12.03.2008

Dynamic Arts

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