“Batavorum” is the second full-length from the Dutch Metalheads in SHADOWLORD. Instead of the Gothic Metal that is the trademark of their country, SHADOWLORD are a Black Metal band, but with considerable melodic elements and Death Metal influences. The music that meets the listener when putting on this record is a solid Black Metal assault with a fairly melodic lead guitar and Death Metal parts in the rhythm and riffing.
This band delivers an album with well-played guitars and solid execution and timing overall. The growler is also ok, working in a typical Black Metal style with a fairly high-pitched growl, as well as the melodies, which open up the Black Metal base to the listeners. Here and there we also get more symphonic parts that lead the thoughts to a more restrained DIMMU BORGIR. That is all good; there are only two major problems here. The first is that the songs are too similar. There are varying elements, but they are not applied enough to really break the feeling of ordinary Black Metal repetitiveness. Most songs also sound similar in the way they are structured and the melodies that are there to provide variation also resemble each other quite a bit. You get the picture ... The second major problem is that the songs aren’t memorable. Afterwards I know that I have listened to a decent or pretty good album, but I can’t remember how any individual song sounded. An own concept that is applied with real force could possibly help SHADOWLORD out here.
My thoughts on this album are split in two parts. On one hand I think that this album is well executed and works within an interesting category of Metal, but on the other hand I think that it takes more than this to earn my appreciation, as I am fairly mean with grades. So “Batavorum” earns a grade just above medium. Next time I want something spectacular or surprising – that will do this band good.
(Online March 30, 2008)