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Review: Wuthering Heights - The Shadow Cabinet
Wuthering Heights
The Shadow Cabinet

Label: Sensory Records
Year released: 2007
Duration: 55:23
Tracks: 10
Genre: Progressive Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: January 9, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
The Shadow Cabinet

Rated 4/5 (80%) (14 Votes)

This is different. No, not from the band's last CD, Far From the Madding Crowd. The Shadow Cabinet actually sounds very similar, and that is a good thing. I'm talking about Power and Progressive Metal in general. The Shadow Cabinet, like its predecessor, has many of the characteristics of both the Power and Progressive styles, but doesn't really sit firmly on one side or the other. And that is what I like so much about this release. As I said, it's different.

The musicianship is solid with Nils Patrick Johansson belting out his strong (some say Dio-esque, although I don't really hear it) vocals and band-leader/song-writer Erik Ravn making with the riffs and solos. Unlike many of their Power Metal contemporaries, Wuthering Heights mixes up the speedy, double-kick tempos with some slower, more riff-oriented passages in almost every song. And while they freely utilize keyboards, time-changes and even violins to alter the atmosphere of a song, like their Progressive peers, they do it without ever degenerating into a "look-how-cool-we-are" 10 minute "epic" or extended solo.

Most tracks have enough riffs and speedy double-kick drumming to keep Power fans happy, with "Demon Desire," "Beautifool," and the rollicking closing track, "Carpe Noctem — Seize the Night" as standouts. The weakest track would probably be "Sleep" which starts with Johansson singing a cappella, in a style that sounds like he is calling the faithful to prayer, before the instruments kick in and the song takes off. I've heard the song a dozen times and it never fails to slam the brakes on the listening experience for me. A positive note for The Shadow Cabinet is that gone are the sillier songs from Far From the Madding Crowd ("Bad Hobbits Die Hard"??? WTF?) The lyrics stick mainly to dark fantasy themes.

Wuthering Heights have separated themselves from the pack with a nice blend of Power and Progressive Metal. The Shadow Cabinet may take a few spins to sink in, but it is well worth the effort.

Other related information on the site
Review: Far From the Madding Crowd (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Salt (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: To Travel for Evermore (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Within (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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