Label : Kolony Records

Review by Stina

To Cast a Shadow might not be a band to everybody’s taste but this is less because of particularly arresting abilities and more because they confine themselves in a narrow netherworld: they go for a stripped-down, almost stark approach to melodic Goth/Doom Metal in opposition to the Symphonic flair or knack for electronics that are so predominant in the Femme Metal scenario at this present time, and for this reason they might come off as too bleak and toughly digestable for the average Female fronted metal fan – still, they might lack enough emotion, power or bite to retain any replay value to the pickiest Doomsters. Hailing from the city of Hamar (and with already an album to their name, 2007’s self-financed “All Alone”), the foursome is part of the renowned Norwegian scene that seemed bent on spawning a number of pivotal acts in the genre: among others, Theatre of Tragedy. And, with Nell Sigland taking over the mic on the short and atmospheric “Betula”, one would not be surprised in getting to know that To Cast a Shadow do actually sound like a sort of revved-up later styled ToT with a harsher styled accent (the band cites sources as diverse as The 3rd and the Mortal, My Dying Bride, Type O Negative, Satyricon, Anathema, Tool, Paradise Lost and Black Sabbath as inspirations): unwelcoming, brooding and mostly mid-paced (save for a couple of instances, for example the energic low-frequency chugging inserted in the end of “Oceans Apart”), the music is built on a nearly skeletal but massive rhythm section, with the female vocals – elsewhere handled by blonde frontwoman Gunnhild Huser, whose clean lines sometimes alternate with guitarist Marcus Granlien’s harsh semi-growl – spiralling over the top. Gunnhild is said from her bandmates to be in possess of a mind-blowing vocal range spanning from jazzy to operatic, yet her vocals are a potential knock against the band, since she’s as technically competent as detached, and somehow restrained in her delivery, lacking agility and leaning a tad on the unidimensional side in terms of pure expression. But it is in the songwriting department that To Cast a Shadow are mostly found wanting: the ten songs on “In Memory of” tend to be meandering and at times they lack a bit of direction, beside coming off as a bit too formulaic to impress long time fans of Doom Metal – and, of course, much less ear-catchy and bombastic than what listeners have lately grown accustomed to in the Gothic genre. Being a young act, To Cast a Shadow still probably need to find their way and their voice in an insanely crowded scene. Given further time to mature and refine their sound towards more focused shores, they might just surprise the audience. Until then, “In Memory of” stands as a transitional effort rather than an actual revelation.

Rating – 60/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Tormented
  2. Morose
  3. Nightfall
  4. Oceans Apart
  5. Betula
  6. My Misery
  7. When You Leave the Room
  8. Set Afire
  9. The Answer
  10. In Memory of 

 

Line Up

  • Gunnhild Huser – Vocals
  • Marcus Granlien- Guitars & Vocals
  • Stian Dalslåen- Bass
  • Kent Helset – Drums

 

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