Line-up: Francesco Valente - vocals, Rocco Spinoso - guitar, Carlo Capocasale - bass, Andrea Iorfino - drums
The Italian progressive metal band Shadow Of Soul has been part of the metal scene for fourteen years. However, as far as their studio output is concerned they haven’t been much productive so their discography consists only of their debut “Whisper from a Shadow” and still the last record which is EP “The Hidden Memories” released in 2006. Even such an archival recording occasionally finds its way into our editorial office so we now have to present another retro review.
Let’s get straight to the business. This EP counts a total of five songs which is a standard length of extended plays. The soft beginning in the first song “Evil Mother Nature” where the flowery melodic tunes are accompanied by the sounds of the nature is really comforting. And when the acoustic strings begin to resonate to the excellent vocals of Francesco Valente it could make romantic souls melt like snow in spring.
More poetically attuned listeners will probably grieve after a minute and a half when all this tranquilizing tickling switches into proper metal music. But what else could one expect from a metal band, right? When the romantics find themselves recovered from this little shock, they will appreciate that Shadw Of Soul can handle these metal passages exceptionally as well and even in the previously announced progressive manner. These technically skilled musicians are able to produce colourful variety of rhythmical changes and mood alterations. Especially in the play of the guitarist Rocco Spinoso we can notice a bright example of the typical Italian gentleness. Therefore it’s a pity he did not put more dynamics and aggression into the straightforward parts. Nevertheless, his instrument is dominating the whole record the most.
The band successfully manages to implement into its progressive genre some aspects of the classical metal, chunks of power/speed metal and even a little bit of black metal. Shadow Of Soul of course can’t avoid some necessary comparisons with similar artists, but whereas their music is too diversified the list would be so extensive to mention. Yet they still serve their material with a plentiful dose of distinctiveness and confidence. I just can’t help myself not to pinpoint a note concerning the Czech metal scene. In the title track “The Hidden Memories” I have discovered quite reminiscent motives as if by the Six Degrees Of Separation. Our further journey takes us across another romantic stream of “Ode To Loneliness” with even more melancholy than in the first track because it’s a pure and atmospherically precise ballad. It seems that Shadow Of Soul should be considered as the pioneers of romantic progressive metal. The end of this EP only proves this theory. Despite that it’s interrupted by the “Black Blood” which sometimes slides into the black metal genre, thanks to the last “Demon's Lullaby” the poetic essence is restored once more. And obviously, roughly after a minute, it shifts into a mosaic of metal variations that in the end recapitulate and underline what we had heard before on this record.
It is sad but true that this band lacks more of the studio recordings. They can surely come up with many interesting ideas and we have to only guess how it would sound on the contemporary record. Only the time will tell if we will live to hear some new material because I must admit that even though the “The Hidden Memories” has much to offer it’s still not enough. Yet it’s a very remarkable album that is definitely not only for one listening.