SHADOWCLOAK – Shadowcloak EP

North Carolina metal band Shadowcloak aren’t messing around on their debut EP. Its five songs tap into some really heavy riffs, but they aren’t content with just hacking out the Sabbath obsessed sounds of so many doom-centric bands. The opening track on this self titled offering, ‘Dark Days’, seems as concerned with substance as much as the heaviness itself. By opening with a slow intro where a burst of feedback appears to emulate the howling wind, there’s an immediate atmosphere, but with a rumbling bass borrowing from 80s goth metal meeting with a cymbal-free drum part, the band’s more thoughtful approach builds a brilliant sound from the off. When the expected heaviness arrives, the riffs take on more of a Paradise Lost quality than a more typical Electric Wizard vibe, with the guitars adopting a dominant mid tempo chug, whilst the vocal falls somewhere between a 90s groove metal growl and a post-hardcore shout. In terms of a hybrid sound, their mix of post-metal and doom gets off to a superb start, but it’s once the mid section kicks in, introducing a more traditional doom riff, that things really get going. That leads into a brilliant sub-goth instrumental, where cleaner guitars take on a fuzzy blues tone and their more melodic stance is countered by a wibbling keyboard hinting at a love of old space rock. Eventually bringing the two moods together and topping the doom with a perfect twin lead guitar, this track shows off a near perfect mix of heaviness and old school melody. If there’s anything here that’s caught your ear, then Shadowcloak will likely hold you in their doomy grasp for the duration.

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