British power metal outfit Shadowkeep returns to the fold with their third full-length release The Hourglass Effect. Although I'm not the biggest supporter of overseas power metal, this CD grabbed my attention immediately and didn't let go until it had thoroughly kicked my ass. A couple minor tweaks to their sound have made all the difference in the world, and might have made The Hourglass Effect my newest favorite album of the genre.
Gone is original vocalist Rogue M. In his place the band has recruited Ritchie Wicks who worked with Tygers Of Pan Tang earlier in the decade – a great move. Rogue M. was a Geoff Tate-type vocalist - a good singer, but to these ears that vocal style didn't really fit in with the frantic pace of the majority of Shadowkeep tunes. Wicks on the other hand is a Rob Halford-like singer. And while he can certainly hit those notes, he stays mid-range more often, similar to Halford singing 'You Got Another Thing Coming.'
The other noticeable difference is the guitar set up. Although the twin guitar attack of Chris Allen and Nicki Robson has been together since the beginning of the band, their guitarwork has a much more raw and aggressive sound to it. Sure the licks are still tight, razor sharp and blazing fast, but they are heavier and angrier than they sounded before.
To make things even more interesting there are plenty of nicely placed samples and segues. Add it all up and you have a well-done Painkiller-type album. Although most of these songs are more complex and have a progressive structure to them, they flow together really well and stick with you long after you've heard them. The Hourglass Effect is a great album recommended to all.
Although I'm not the biggest supporter of overseas power metal, this The Hourglass Effect grabbed my attention immediately and didn't let go until it had thoroughly kicked my ass.