By Professor Jocko

There are certain qualities and characteristics of a band that distinguishes them from any typical stereotype of their chosen genre. Whether it is the guitars, vocals, clever gimmick or any other instrumental trick they may have up their sleeve. Some may rely on a certain sound, which may be original to a certain point, or perhaps a distinct reminder of another successful group. Shadowkeep has acquired the combination of both of these qualities, with hints of the vocals which remind me of Rob Halford when he separated from Judas Priest to form Fight and even his solo career with Halford. Helstar's James Rivera has added yet another band to his vast vocal portfolio.

The self-titled album starts with a musical intro titled “Atlantis”. It is somewhat forgettable like most musical intros, so I suppose you could call it syphilis and it still wouldn’t matter much. It does ,however, provide a nice build-up to the following track called “Guardian of the Sea”, which possesses some very impressive guitar work, with a tremendous pounding rhythm as a supplement to the vocals. As you progress through consecutive tracks, you will notice that Shadowkeep seems to rely heavily on the music, and not as much with the vocals. This does allow the songs each tracks to breathe somewhat, bud does tend to become a little redundant with a few of the longer running songs.

When you get to track 5 called “Little Lion”, just do yourself a favor and skip to the next song. I feel that this just doesn’t fit in with the type of music displayed on the rest of the album, and simply doesn’t measure up to the musical merit of the anything else with the songs before or after it. Overall, I give this album 6 out of 10, but would bump it up to a 7 if they were to just remove this feeble attempt at a ballad. Although two of the founding members, Chris Allen and Nikki Robson remain constant, the band has seen its share of line-up changes over its 20 year existence. Both of these men are guitar players however, so with several different lead vocalists, have interjected alternate singing and writing styles as a result. 

The guitars are undeniably the driving force behind this record, which is evident throughout the entire LP and more noticeably in the longer tracks. The last two songs make up over 15 minutes of the album which probably could have been cut in half in my opinion; kind of like a movie that should have ended a half an hour before it did. The final song is called “Minotaur”, and seems to have too many musical interferences to maintain the required interest to last over 9 minutes. The brief whistling part could be an English thing as a remedial intermission, if you will, but as the song drones along, it becomes just a small obstacle in an average conclusion.