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Godsend - As The Shadows Fall CD (album) cover



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Prog Metal Team
3 stars The list of bands fronted by Dan Swanö is endless. There's Edge of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium, and Nightingale, but also many other artists where he either featured as a guest, or at the production helm or in a prominent role as drummer or vocalist: Therion, Katatonia, Opeth, and many lesser known gods of Scandinavian metal. Yes, in the 90's, there was no way avoiding the ever present genius of mr. Swanö.

One of the more obscure bands he worked with was Godsend, for which he did the vocals on two albums. This Godsend project never reached a level of brilliance for me, but in combining melodic doom, goth and progressive elements, the band was quite a unique star in the northern sky and their debut album is very strong all the way through. The album is also noteworthy for me as it was the first album where Swanö used his clean vocals all the way through. They are not as confident yet as on the Nightingale debut, he often opts for a very deep bass register that is quite impressive and eerie but that lacks the more natural warmth he later developed. But it suits the music fine.

Depending on the individual track, the album often sounds like Pentagram (Slaydream, With The Wind) or Candlemass (Autumn Leaves). At other times, as on the slow funeral doom trudge of the title track, it's like early Anathema with clean vocals. Then again, a more prog-oriented influence of Solitude Aeturnus shines through and there's even some prog-folk on Walking The Roads where Swanö's love for Marillion clearly shows, this short tune is almost as charming and cheerful as Childhood's End / White Feather.

You got it, this is a must for fans of the melodic doom of Candlemass, Paradise Lost, Solitude Aeturnus, Pentagram and all the others. It never reaches the top level of those bands but it often comes close. Swanö's vocals more then make up for its shortcomings. 4 metal stars, 3.5 prog stars so I'll leave it at 3.

Report this review (#277600)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This Norwegian band, fronted by Gunder Audun Dragsten (ex Atrox) caused a stir with this album.

I remember the release well because I worked in the biggest magazine in Norway at that time. Godsend, ie Gunder Audun Dragsten, was my first ever band I reviewed and interviewed. It was also a pretty bizarre experience when I called Gunder at his home to arrange the interview. I got his mother, presented myself with my name and the name of the magazine I worked for. His mother then proceeded to give me a solid ear-bashing because I called from a rock magazine. Obviously, Gunder's choice of hobby (music) had not fallen on fertile grounds at home. I was told that her son Gunder was too good for this piece of s**** called rock and he was a very decent young man with a big future ahead of himself. With my ears still bleeding from her words, I eventually got hold of Gunder. A very nice, humble man. I also had a look at his tax returns (which are public in Norway). I think it is safe to say that his mother was spot on after all, judging on Gunder's pretty solid income last year.

Sorry, I am still laughing at the ear-bashing I got from his mother, almost two decades later. And I have not a bad word to say about her or Gunder at all.

Anyway, while I am trying to recover from this fit of laughter, I am supposed to review this album. Gosh !!!

Godsend was and is Gunder Audun Dragsten's band. No less, no more. This album is a natural progression from the 1992 demo. Dan Swano does the vocals as a hired hand. The music is dominated by almost Gregorian chants from Dan Swano. Gunder does all the guitars and the bass here. The guitars are very doomy, the funeral doom way of doom. Again, the similarity with Cathedral (UK) is very obvious. In particular their first album. But there is also some elements of Solitude Aeturnus, Candlemass and Black Sabbath here. This album also have a pretty straight rock tune. This gives this album a pretty progressive feel and Godsend a more multi-dimensional expression. I am no longer a fan of this type of doom. But I have a soft spot for this album. A week three stars will suffice.

3 stars

Report this review (#277608)
Posted Monday, April 12, 2010 | Review Permalink

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