Shadowcaster - _Abandonment_
(Unisound Records, 1996)
by: Henry Akeley (3 out of 10)
Shadowcaster is touted as an "experimental" entry into the black metal genre, but "tedious one-man keyboard project" would be a much more accurate description of this release. _Abandonment_ features loads of synth, some slow programmed percussion, and plenty of tortured vocalizations "sung" in the black metal style - but there is not one note of guitar (or bass) to be heard at any point in its 71-minute playing time. That's not why I'm giving it the low rating, though. No, it's because the incessant keyboards sound cheap and rather goofy - and, frankly, they're not played with much skill. Moreover, the compositions tend to be really simplistic, monotonous, and overly long. Some moments even end up being unintentionally funny (to me, at any rate). In comparison to the awesome ritual music of Equimanthorn (also on Unisound) or the spellbinding "dark ambient" music of the mighty Mortiis, this is incredibly doltish sounding stuff. The album does contain a few moments of weird, nocturnal charm, but those moments are way too few and far between.

(article published 18/11/1996)

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