Nima : At the dawn of the new millennium Shadowkeep released its debut album 'Corruption Within' and drew international attention of the metal media to itself. The progressive heavy metal that the band revealed on that album was far from what was common at that period of time and with the Belgian vocalist Rouge M., whose voice was almost identical to Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate, the band scored a few extra points in my book. The follower 'A Chaos Theory' from 2002 showed progression on every matter, the band has set a few steps back in the Queensrÿche-approach and Shadowkeep seemed to be ready for a well-deserved recognition. But then unfortunately Rouge decided to part paths with Shadowkeep. After that the band joined forces with the ex-Vicious Rumors shouter Ronnie Stixx, but that also didn't last for longer than a demo tape and the Englishmen entered a long period of silence.
But now, six years after the release of the last album, suddenly there is a new Shadowkeep album in my hands. With high expectations, but also with some doubts I push the CD in my player. Has the band managed to match the previous albums, let alone top them? Has the long pause had any influence on the band's sound? Have they walked newer, modern paths? Fortunately it doesn't take long to get an answer to those questions, because with the opening track 'Shadowkeep' they sound familiar and the recognizable guitar sound of Chris Allen and Nikki Robson breathe utter Shadowkeep. But it is with the following track 'Incisor' in which they blow away all doubts and worries. The band hasn't moved an inch from the musical direction they've take since 'Corruption Within', which in my opinion is only positive. Of course the band introduces anew singer on this album and that is no one less than Richie Wicks, whom the die-hards will remember from the British eighties legends Tygers Of Pan Tang and Angel Witch! Despite the years Richie's voice is still as powerful as two decades earlier and fits the music of Shadowkeep perfectly. His voice has also more character than Rouge's and sounds more varied.
'The Hourglass Effect' is once again a real Shadowkeep album and a logical follower of 'A Chaos Theory'. Again the band shows progression at all fronts, sounds more creative and obsessed than before and has delivered their best effort to date, both musically and sound technically. Fans of progressive heavy metal can purchase this album with an assured heart.