Title: The Shadowed Road
Label: Avantgarde Music
Release Date: 15 March 2018
Country: New Zealand/Sweden/Italy
Welcome to Sojourner’s world – a romantic and melancholic one, lost in times and centuries. The Shadowed Road is band’s second full length album, after Empires of Ash, released in 2016. Sojourner are a New Zealand quintet band, but includes musicians from Sweden and Italy. The Shadowed Road easily takes the listener to ancient magic kingdoms. The wind brings Past into the music, it rushes through the leaves and the grass, swings into the air, and whispers into your ears.
Overall I can state that the album is a fantastic production with very deep and powerful sound. And it can’t be something else! The album was mixed by Øystein G Brun form Borknagar, at Crosound Studio (Norway) as well as mastered by Dan Swanö in Unisound AB (Sweden). On top Anders Jacobsson of Draconian provided the lyrics for “Titan” song. Stylistically it is a magnificent melodic atmospheric black metal with epic parts, longing sad moments and folk motifs. The songs are long. 7 tracks in 51 minutes total running time urge the listener to take The Shadowed Road and experience the magic. The cover art is impressive too. It has been crafted by the Romanian illustrator Bast, along with all internal artworks. The cover art describes very well the album – a picture of a glorious temple somewhere on a silent forgotten cliff shore of a vast land, already in ruins, touched by the hands of time, drowning in oblivion.
Melodic, epic and in search for the glory of the lost empires and their mightiness – this is The Shadowed Road. There are two types of heavy vocals – one black-kind and another more into the death spectrum, often overlapping. Of course there are the gentle female vocals. All the seven tracks are abundant of piano and synth passages, solos and sometimes acoustic guitars. A lead guitar, tin whistle and synths, all mixed in one main melody, are running almost all the time across every song. The tin whistle especially creates that folk heroic feeling from the past times, ancient lands and nature. However, this somehow turns into a disadvantage, because it gets too much (for me) at a certain point of listening, and on top it creates similarity in the tracks. I really liked the rawer solid and intensive parts, where the band adds emotional pressure to the romantic beautiful moments. There is a lot of soul put down in the transcribed ancient melodies, mixed with aggressive, yet lonely melodic black elements. The Shadowed Road is an album that builds an overall grandiose atmosphere. It is a metaphor album, a voyage. And I invite everyone to take and walk alone The Shadowed Road and to enter the mighty forgotten kingdoms. And stay forever there. 8/10 Count Vlad