|Review: Shadar Logoth - Demo 2006|
Year released: 2006
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 8, 2007
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Upon receiving this demo for review, I thought I'd seen the cover somewhere before. However, it turned out I was wrong, it just looks very similar to the band Harvist's cover art for their 'A Gleam in the Night' album. Anyway, Shadar Logoth (taking their name from a city in Robert Jordan's Fantasy Series 'Wheel of Time' – well, beats the usual Tolkien worship I suppose) formed in 2003, and have finally honed their skills enough to feel confident to release their first official demo.
Opening with a thin sounding production reminiscent of Eucharist's 'A Velvet Creation' album, I was half expecting a nasty raw black metal album from the initial riff, though it turns out it couldn't be further from the truth. Shadar Logoth actually play a folkier, melodic style of black metal, similar to that of Borknagar's first couple of albums, and Ulver's debut (with the crooning clean vocals of 'In the Throneroom of our Enemy' in particular flooding your ears with Garm adoration). The riffs are attention-grabbing, and coupled with a small amount of synth-work here and there, it also gives rise to a few early Emperor comparisons (check out a few of the arrangements in 'Prima Nocte' in particular). The melodies come from the guitars themselves as opposed to the synthesizers, with scorching riffs blazing through the trebly production, with the almost bass-less drums clattering along, keeping everything neatly together. Vocally, although there are some clean vocals as mentioned previously, there's the usual black metal rasping vocals for the most part of the demo, with the clean interspersed for the melodic choruses. The final track 'Phantom Destination' shows a slightly different side to the band, with an aching doomy opening riff that most up and coming doom bands would sell a testicle for to have written for themselves.
There are no musical gripes with this at all really (OK, so a few of the clean vocals on the final song are slightly off, but Quorthon got away with that for years). The only improvement I could think of suggesting for future improvement (and it's down to my own personal tastes, rather than a musical thing) is to try a slightly warmer sounding production for the next effort, which would bring the riffs out of the restricting trebly environment into a world of their own, and to whack the bass right up on the drum sound. That said, you can't fail to be impressed by this as a first effort, it's all extremely well executed and well put together in a semi-professional CD-R package. Well worth getting hold of.
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