WARREL DANE - Shadow Work
October 31, 2018, 8 months ago
Words can’t express how much I miss this guy. His talent, passion, friendship and overall aura was all-consuming. And it’s no secret BraveWords had an unmatched fondness for Nevermore, the band that never achieved the fame and adulation it should have been destined to achieve. With hopes he’s paying attention, current Arch Enemy axe Jeff Loomis must be thinking long and hard at what coulda been, as Shadow Work fits nicely beside Nevermore’s crowning achievement, Dreaming Neon Black.
Warrel Dane’s demise is truly tragic and gut-wrenching, and with one listen to this swan song, you gotta wonder how his band pulled off such a magnum opus with a deceased leader. Where Praise To The War Machine was a glorious debut, it was a bit scattered with its peaks, valleys and melancholic nature. It truly showcased all the inner feelings that seemingly were slowly tearing the singer’s soul apart. Sure, his appetite for personal destruction was witnessed by so many. An artist just overflowing with incredible talent, but possessed by inner demons that ultimately pointed to his grave. Sad. Terribly sad. But Shadow Work takes you to a grandiose place and warms the metal heart, as it were. And I gotta say, when I’m walking or biking to this opus, I could feel his eerie and ghostly presence. Not just in my headphones, but swimming everywhere, in a sea of darkness.
His voice ranks as one of the finest in the history of heavy metal. And while this album took a lot longer to surface than was expected, the end result is pure genius. Pure Warrel. His angelic vocals chords offset by a vicious and angry tone. Plenty of double-bass, searing riffs, soaring chorus lines and Warrel spitting with glee as “Madame Satan” displays. “Disconnection System” features a harrowing lead that echoes and haunts, whereas the title track gallops frantically, almost dancing into the annals of death metal. “Rain” will rattle your soul, acoustics fighting with a heavy-handed backbone of rhythmics unrestrained. The album closer pushes nearly ten minutes and enters with an extreme gothic tone à la My Dying Bride, but “Mother Is The Word For God” is the ultimate showcase to Dane’s versatility and years of professional training. Shadow Work hits you so emotionally deep as you are overcome with extreme sorrow, pondering what this genius would have conjured up next. The choir of string instruments closes out the song, the album and most likely his final gut-wrenching gasp at the criminally early age of 56.