So, a Romanian, a New Zealander, a South African and an Englishman walk into a recording studio… the engineer said “why the long faces”?


But that’s enough crazy, mid-seventies-styled comedy from me. What you want, I fully realise, is crazy, mid-nineties styled doom-death, and that’s just what that fore-mentioned quartet have come up with on their new album Echoes of Yore!

Supergroup is perhaps the wrong word – this isn’t a project glibly put together to shift millions of units, after all; But super group they may well turn out to be if EOY is anything to go by. Formed around the crepuscular presence of lyricist Shadows (the Romanian), Lord of Shadows feature the unmistakable vocal presence of Brit metal’s very own Byronic man Aaron Stainthorpe (the Englishman), the shivers-down-the-spine-ethereality of Heike Langhans (the South African) and the allround instrumental prowess of Mike Lamb – the Kiwi, if your powers of deduction are lacking.

Together they’ve created the classic doom-death conflation, a place where, on songs with names like Her Lips Were Poetry and Doom, Milton‘s concept of terrible beauty is given musical flesh via sensuous, yet simultaneously bombastic assaults on the senses. Stainthorpe appears almost as a theatrical narrator, peppering the tracks with his own inimitable, gravitas-laden tone whilst Langhans adds the sultry, longing-drenched vocals that give the listener salve from the harsh vocals (from Shadows I assume, though this isn’t made clear in the notes that came with the review files – they might well be Stainthorpe though). Whilst this goes on, Lamb adds deft slabs of ebon despair via the gift of his guitar. It’s a well-worn formula of course, but delivered with more than enough skill by all concerned to make this actually a pretty fresh, and very much alive, set of musical statements.

I get the sense – and I could be totally wrong here, so don’t quote me on this – that Shadows may well see himself as a sort of doom-death Tobias Sammet; If that’s the case and Lord of Shadows is his Avantasia then we shouldn’t expect this lineup to appear together again as the project moves forward. That would be a shame, because there is definite chemistry at play here, but whatever happens I’m keen to see where Shadows heads with this.

Echoes of Yore releases on September 1st.