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Shield Of Wings – Unfinished

Shield Of Wings
by Thomas Kumke at 09 January 2022, 10:46 PM

SHIELD OF WINGS hailing from Chicago, Illinois were formed in 2005 by guitarist James Gregor and drummer Pat Eulitz. They play Symphonic Metal with Folk and Death Metal influences. After the release of their debut EP in 2011, it followed the departure of their vocalist Grace Meridan in 2012 and more recently of their long-time bassist Jeff Olsem. With the arrival of Alex Luke (bass) and both vocalists Lara Mordian and Aliyah Daye, SHIELD OF WINGS eventually released their debut full-length album “Unfinished”. It is an independent release with a playing time of more than 56 minutes.

SHIELD OF WINGS deliver an album which focusses on epic melodies predominantly presented by grandiose orchestral arrangements. The opener “Crushing Hill” gives some indication what to expect and it all starts with a cinematic intro which transitions into a bombastic melodic part before the guitars, bass, and drums taking over and drive the track forward with powerful guitar riffing, lots of double-bass drumming, and catchy choruses at mid-tempo. The clean vocals of Lara Mordian are pretty diverse and cover quite a large part of the vocal spectrum. Aliyah Daye contributes to the vocals with growls at around the medium end of the guttural range.

Native Colossus” has a slow and measured start introduced by the folky vocals of Aliyah Daye, then interrupted by an outburst of the double-bass drumming. The orchestral arrangements are pretty dominant throughout the track with some epic melodies. “Native Colossus” has a relative complex song structure with a lot of changes in pace and rhythm, ranging from almost ballad-esque parts up to a short blast-beat attack. “Breathing” is a grim symphonic Death Metal inspired track, and the interplay of the clean and growling vocals fits perfectly, giving the track an extra dimension. The middle part of the song is dominated by the string section and the clean vocals. For me, “Breathing” is one of the album highlights.

Frozen Harbor” starts with a long instrumental before it turns into a mid-tempo track with the double-bass drumming driving the track forward. The guitars and bass are perhaps too much in the background at the expense of the orchestra. “Cedar” has a good mid-tempo rhythm, catchy riffing and melodies and a bit more balance between instruments and orchestra. The middle section is in up-tempo and includes a short, but contributing lead guitar solo.

Mind Of Myth” is another of my highlights on the album. It starts slowly and quiet with plenty of Folk vibes and has some epic, but dark melodies. The song has a complex structure with many different elements added including growling vocals and another blast-beat section during the middle part. “Mind Of Myth” is a good example of good songwriting. “Wetland” is another song with bombastic arrangements and epic melodies where both vocalists complement each other perfectly. The song is the official video release and the YouTube link is given below.

While “Sunfire Shower” is the fastest track on the album, “Come Home” is a classical ballad which is probably part of any symphonic Metal album. “Sunfire Shower” is again driven by the double-bass drums as well as by some bombastic orchestral parts. Given the playing time of more than six minutes, there is enough room for tempo twists and turns which makes the song very interesting to listen to. The album closes with the longest track. “The Scarred Clay Reshaping” is a fireworks of bombastic and cinematic orchestral driven sound and another highlight on the album. A worthy finale of “Unfinished”.

SHIELD OF WINGS deliver a good symphonic Metal album that is influenced by a number of different genres, most notably Folk and Death Metal. Despite there is a large number of symphonic Metal releases, SHIELD OF WINGS compose a sound that is diverse and with own character. Key to that are both vocalists whose symbiosis gives SHIELD OF WINGS an extra dimension in their sound. The album is well produced. SHIELD OF WINGS leave a marker with “Unfinished” and not only symphonic Metal fans will dig the album.

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Crushing Hail
2. Native Colossus
3. Breathing
4. Frozen Harbor
5. Cedar
6. Wetland
7. Mind Of Myth
8. Sunfire Shower
9. Come Home
10. The Scarred Clay Reshaping
Lara Mordian – Vocals
Aliyah Daye – Vocals, Keyboards
James Gregor ­ Guitars
Pat Eulitz – Drums
Alex Luke – Bass
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 17 August 2022

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