Lord Shades - _The Downfall of Fire - Enmek_
(Independent, 2008)
by: Quentin Kalis (6 out of 10)
An ambitious conceptual fantasy album such as this is a tricky proposition for even the most talented of lyrical wordsmiths, obliged to unite the textual demands with that of the music, all whilst retaining the listener's attention. Lord Shades has failed in this regard. Before I consider this further, he should be commended for having the balls to create his own fantastical world, and not simply plagiarize Tolkien. Few artists have done that, and only Za Frumi springs to mind. Za Frumi was a failure; their story was too great for the music, with a preference for silly Orc voices over good music. And it's not as if they are untalented: member Simon was the mastermind behind Atrium Carceri, who has delivered some of the most amazing dark ambient this side of Desiderii Marginis.

But back to Lord Shades. At the lyrical level he seeks to emphasize the drama with Middle English ("thou", "thee", "thy", etc.) but this is not matched at the musical level. Considering the range of emotions and moods that each song would inspire, they fail to do so. For example, "Embers of Hate" reads as if it should be a dark and dismal number, whilst "The Last Stand" sounds as if it should be accompanied by an epic song, not an epic-length song. Various metal styles are regularly borrowed from, including thrash, black, death and their infinite variants, but the songs are unable to convey the mood that the song demands. Again I commend them for the conceptual fantasy attempt, but their reach has exceeded their grasp.

Contact: http://www.lordshades.com

(article published 22/1/2009)

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