To arms! Finish your horn of mead and get your cuirass, shield and long sword ready, as REFLECTION is taking us all to battle on their third full-length, “When Shadows Fall”. Slow riffs boarding on Doom, coupled with an active rhythm section and an unpolished, yet very fitting vocalist can only mean one thing: Epic Metal!
Hail to all things MANILLA ROAD for spawning one of Metal’s greatest subgenres, and one of the only subgenres that has remained unsaturated by a thousand clones, and underground enough to appeal only to those true enough to believe. Just like their brethren and forefathers, “When Shadows Fall” is about as un-commercial and anti-trendy as it gets. While every song on “When Shadows Fall” is an Epic Metal pounder, “Ghost Ship” is possibly the album’s highlight with its driving main riff and subtle leads and hooks. However, the best main riff of the album may have to go to “Eyes Of The Night”, with “Kingdom Of Fire” delivering the best sing-along chorus. The final track, an orchestral version of “Mistress Of Sea”, takes out all of the Metal, and while it’s an interesting take on the song, it more so leaves me wanting to hear REFLECTION combine the Metal with the orchestral, for a potentially more epic sound. Perhaps something to think about for future releases?
Possibly the strongest point of “When Shadows Fall”, and of Epic Metal as whole, is the album’s dynamics. REFLECTION know how to let their material breathe, not afraid to allow open spaces between riffs, and avoiding the potential desire to fill everything with something. What this does in effect is make the overall effort sound big and open, adding exponentially to the album’s epic feel.
To round out the package, “When Shadows Fall” possesses an organically clear and powerful production, that is light years away from the overly processed, Pro-Tooled-to-death productions that so many releases are plagued with today. The mix is very natural, with every instrument having it’s equal place in the mix.
With “When Shadows Fall”, REFLECTION have catapulted themselves into the realm of such Epic Metal heavyweights as DOOMSWORD, BATTLEROAR and WOTAN. As long as bands of this sort continue to crank out quality, battle-ready material, True Metal will never die. Absolutely recommended.
(Online September 27, 2008)