[Review] Shadows of Paragon – Through the Valley Within
Shadows of Paragon – Through the Valley Within
Genre: Black/Death Metal
Shadows of Paragon is a band that has very much dwelt in the shadows of their fellow Swedish bands like Crimson Moonlight, Sanctifica, and Admonish. Their style is best described simply as black/death metal, but those words mean nothing without explanation. Imagine the aggression of Dark Endless with some touches of melody reminiscent of The Covenant Progress-era Crimson Moonlight, but still with significant death metal influences that somewhat remind me of Sanctifica.
The music is quite fast and unrelenting. Although some nice, blistering black metal is great, I’d love some tempo variety. One slower song added to the middle of the album could have made a huge difference to prevent the whole thing from blurring together too much. Still, many of the songs are memorable and a few have some unique qualities. “Silentium” has a memorable piano entrance for example, though the riffs in that song are a little sub-par compared to the rest of the album. The riffs in general are fantastic. As I said before, the melodies remind me a lot of early CM, and this album in general basically sounds like the kind of music that I wanted CM to make after Veil of Remembrance. The riffs are amazing all around and are extremely powerful and enthralling.
Atmosphere is really only created by the intro and outro tracks, which are two nice symphonic pieces that tie up the beginning and end of the album quite nicely. I would have liked to hear more keyboards/piano throughout the album (outside of just “Silentium”). I think that it would have added another layer of complexity and added to the overall depth of the sound to make the album feel a little more complete.
The vocals and drums are ideal for this style. There’s a decent amount of vocal variety here as well. He switches between higher growls typical of black metal and lower ones typical of death metal as you would expect, though both styles are done extremely well. The vocals show a lot of emotion, especially in “Repressed Experience”, when he screams, “I’d sacrifice anything for just one moment of peace!” It’s all very well done. The drums are real and not monotonous, as you would ideally expect.
There’s not much more to it than that. It’s simply a very well done slice of pure black/death. A little tempo variation and some more keyboards could have made for a fuller and richer experience, but this is a great album even without it. I highly recommend it to Crimson Moonlight fans who were dissatisfied with In Depths of Dreams Unconscious (like myself).
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