Light & Shade - 'The Essence Of Everything'

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 14, 2018    
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As grey and drab as a rain soaked afternoon.

Bringing together Seven Spires vocalist Adrienne Cowan, Temperance and Secret Sphere guitarist Marco Pastorini, Temperance bassist Luca Negro and guest drummer Alex Landenburg (Luca Turilli's Rhapsody, 21Octayne), Light & Shade hope to provide 'The Essence Of Everything'. It's quite an ambition for a new band looking to concoct something a little different from the norm as they "obscure Metal melodies and dreaming atmospheres".

All of which is a commendable sentiment and one a greater proportion of bands should nurture and yet, the more Symphonic Metal ideals are squeezed and squashed into a modern Alt-Rock framework, the more it sounds like the pieces picked up from an almighty head-on collision of opposed ideas. Pour Cowan's varied, yet somehow samey, vocals over the top and what begins as something that makes you go "what's this then?" quickly becomes "not that again..."

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Whether through the spikey 'Spirit Of Anne', the strings and symphony of 'Brokenhearted' or the piano and clean guitar-infused, but double kick drum-led 'Welcome The Cold', you can't help but feel that the more Light & Shade strive to sound different, the more they actually sound the same. That said, with Cowan not possessing the range of a Tarja Turunen or Floor Jansen, 'Essence Of You' and 'Wander So Far' do offer something a little removed; unfortunately, the Extreme Metal gutturals, even as someone who doesn't mind a little growly-growly, turn you off immediately.

The travesty is that there's a ton of talent on show. Pastorini's guitar work is sharp and concise, Landenburg's drumming is nothing short of superb and, when they combine on the more focused title track, you're left wondering what might have been had this band simply played to their strengths, rather than seek new ones. Unfortunately, they didn't, leaving Light & Shade as grey and drab as a rain soaked afternoon.

Steven Reid

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