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The Shadow Theory - Behind The Black Veil CD (album) cover


The Shadow Theory


Progressive Metal

3.60 | 53 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Behind The Black Veil' - The Shadow Theory (7/10)

Essentially a supergroup founded and assembled by Psychotic Waltz/Deadsoul Tribe frontman Devon Graves, The Shadow Theory was forged from an aspiration to bring together the most talented and skilled musicians Graves had come across in the past, and make music together. The result of this meeting takes the shape of 'Behind The Black Veil,' a dark, melodic journey of progressive metal that doesn't manage to find a unique sound of it's own, but stands as a strong album that reflects each member's talent.

While the concept of a supergroup is usually quite promising, the reality unfortunately lends an a formula of flash over substance and letdown after letdown, The Shadow Theory manages to put enough of their creativity into the project to make for some dynamic, strong melodic metal. Along with Devon Graves, members of such progressive metal bands as Threshold and Pain Of Salvation are taken in for the ride, and each member does appear to live up to Grave's expectations. While this does seem to be a group effort to some extent, the spotlight generally seems to be on Graves, and his incredibly dynamic voice, or guitarist Arne Schuppner and the great deal of thoughtful riffs he dishes out here. On top of the typical rock/metal instruments, there's also a very strong symphonic presence here, taking alot of orchestral samples and throwing them in to give a classier sound, albeit one that's already been done to death by countless melodic symphonic metal bands.

The idea that the album's sound is derived from other sources is all-too true here, and proves to be The Shadow Theory's biggest fault here. Although having a derivative style can be said for the majority of metal bands out there, the influences here are all-too obvious, and while things come together quite nicely, The Shadow Theory outdoes very few of the source groups. If anything can be said for the style-copying however, 'Behind The Black Veil' does represent quite an impressive collage of different sounds. 'I Open Up My Eyes' for example, starts out in the typical progressive metal vein, before breaking into vocal sections that are rhythmically very similar to alternative metallers System Of A Down. Flute sections also ring throughout the opening track, bringing to mind prog veterans Jethro Tull. The biggest copycatting can be heard on the industrial-infused track 'Sleepwalking' which has a verse that is vocally and lyrically nearly identical to David Bowie's song 'Golden Years,' albeit played through the gritty filter of heavy metal. The gothic-horror interlude track 'A Candle In The Gallery' sounds like a page ripped out of the King Diamond book. Meanwhile, the epic closing track 'A Symphony Of Shadows' (while being a highlight here) makes no effort to hide the Queen influence in the quirky vocal work.

It is actually in the more straightforward, progressive metal songs where The Shadow Theory starts making a bit more of a interesting step forward in their dark and brooding sound. Along with the powerful closing piece, 'Welcome' is another highlight on 'Behind The Black Veil' which sounds tailored to make for a great single. Powerful chorus, a solid song structure and strong, yet concise delivery makes for an instantly engaging song.

While it may very well be possible that The Shadow Theory turns out to be a one-off project and nothing more than a footnote in each band member's career, 'Behind The Black Veil' is indeed a strong debut from this melodic metal group. Despite not feeling too original, the music here is dark, atmospheric and skillfully played. In any case, The Shadow Theory has proven to have some good chemistry, and one can only hope that the band decides to go back for seconds, and improve on their existing sound.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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