"Hemisphere of Shadows" (Caroline; 2011)
Reviewed by Josh "Spudbeast" Bolton
Dropping out of lightspeed in a space-worthy Panzer, Danava once again provides another bombardment of cosmic firepower with "Hemisphere of Shadows."
With their third foray into the too-barren annals of psychedelic space metal, Danava take us on a journey to a future where the harmonious-yet-raw rock of the 1970s flows on the solar winds.
Picking up where 2010’s “UnonoU” left off, "Hemisphere of Shadows" begins with a gravitational trans-dimensional riff being our launch through the Northwestern star gate. “Shoot Straight from a Crooked Gun” immediately displays the musicianship in Danava, with headman Dusty Sparkles (Gregory Meleney) leading the way with some harmonies that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Thin Lizzy track. The groove of the track really finds itself with the chorus, and never lets you go. “White Nights of Murder” follows next, and with a fun, mutating riff that churns through the song. I want to say I hear some cowbell, here, but if so it’s way out of the mix.
As someone who grew up with Cirith Ungol, my tolerance for odd vocal displays is immense, but it's worth noting at this point that Dusty Sparkle’s vocals won’t be for everyone. He's not the most powerful and can be a little nasally at times.
The next two songs showcase the aspects of Danava I feel define them most of all: Killer riffs, dueling solos, and fantastic keyboard interludes. Both “The Last Goodbye” and “I am the Skull” display intricate songwriting and composition along with a killer vibe that might sound like Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord (RIP) playing in high orbit. And while these two songs follow a similar formula, they have a different feel: ‘The Last Goodbye” is an ozone-burning rocket and “I am the Skull” is an embodiment of Castlevania: a paranoid and frantic evil.
Bringing us back from space travel to outlaw bikers is “Riding Hood” an almost power-rock anthem to the fold, channeling a heavy, earlier Triumph. The main riff on this song just oozes rebellion, and is guaranteed to get some fists in the air. “The Illusion Crawls” picks up the pace again, almost mirroring the paranoia from "I Am the Skull." The riff and drums roll well here, galloping rather than crawl as the title suggests.
Rounding out the album is the title track, “Hemisphere of Shadows.” This song showcases the dueling/harmonizing guitars in the most impressive way on the album as well as having a creepy, doom-filled chorus. “Hemisphere of Shadows” drowns out slow with a keyboard outro, “Dying Into Light,” that is as pleasant as it is unsettling.
In its 38-minute journey, “Hemisphere of Shadows” takes us on a galactic voyage, but at times goes so fast that there’s not enough lasting impact. This album is very good, but lacks a finishing quality to be truly great. There’s a missing intangible from the album. Maybe it’s the production. Maybe they just haven’t meshed together well enough yet. Whatever it is, I feel like Danava is very close to finding that. I look forward to their next release with great interest.
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A classic. This record will kick your ass.
Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.
So-so. You've heard better.
Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.
Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.
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Revised: 08 Apr 2018 10:38:46 -0400.