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The Shadow Theory - Behind The Black Veil Award winner

The Shadow Theory
Behind The Black Veil
by Mike Novak at 21 November 2010, 2:11 PM

THE SHADOW THEORY is a band that was formed by Buddy Lackey (aka Devon Graves), supposedly by gathering his favorite musicians together in one band. The big name for some is Kristoffer Gildenlöw, who had primary stayed under the radar since his departure from PAIN OF SALVATION. Johanne James of THRESHOLD is also present on drums. Together, they created “Behind the Black Veil,” a concept album about a rock star whose reckless drug abuse one night caused him to have nightmare after nightmare, until he could not tell when he was dreaming and when he was awake. Sadly, while the idea is intriguing, I never really gave much attention to the concept while I was listening.

Musically, there is definitely some chemistry between the members. The music is less basic and dreary (and let’s be honest, dull) than Devon’s other project DEADSOUL TRIBE could sometimes be. Guitarist Arne Schuppner adds a slightly heavier sound, including even a bit of a thrash influence at times. I wish he had added some additional lead work, because it is obvious that he is very talented, and to be honest, some of the songs could have used them to break up occasional monotony.

One of my favorites on the album is “Welcome,” which balances soft acoustic guitars with heavy riffs and guitar squeals, which mixes perfectly with Lackey’s powerful, yet passionate vocal delivery. “Ghostride” uses a memorable dual guitar theme as bookmarks between verses, between which Lackey describes the protagonist’s horrific thoughts. “Snakeskin” is an effective mixture of Symphonic Rock and Thrash; this is one area that could have used a shredding guitar solo to really push it over the top. The magnum opus of “Behind the Black Veil” is the closing epic “A Symphony of Shadows,” which sounds like a thundering climax from a rock opera.

While Johanne James is a competent and solid drummer, I would have loved to hear what Adel Moustafa from DEADSOUL TRIBE could have added to this album. Gildenlöw does a decent job on bass, but his performance does not come close to matching his best work in PAIN OF SALVATION. His vocals are non-existent, unfortunately. This is an instance where the sum is greater than its parts, because aside from Lackey, there is not much worth noting amongst the musicians. This album falters when the JETHRO TULL-worship of Lackey gets too obvious, just like with DEADSOUL TRIBE. Also, just like DEADSOUL TRIBE, there are some passages that are too long and drawn-out and become very boring.

Overall, THE SHADOW THEORY definitely justifies its existence with “Behind the Black Veil” and proves that this is more than a vanity project for those involved. Even though it is not perfect, there is some fantastic music contained therein. Sadly, the momentum suffers because of some overlong, monotonous songs and sections and therefore, despite being a concept album, this is best appreciated with the top songs put on an MP3 player and mixed in with other music and the rest ignored. Still worthwhile though, if just for those moments of brilliance.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. I Open Up My Eyes
  2. The Sound Of Flies
  3. Ghostride
  4. Welcome
  5. By The Crossroads
  6. Selebrate
  7. Snakeskin
  8. Sleepwalking
  9. The Black Cradle
  10. A Candle In The Gallery
  11. A Symphony Of Shadows
Lineup:
Buddy Lackey – Vocals, Flute
Demi Scott - Keyboards
Arne Schuppner - Guitar
Kristoffer Gildenlöw - Bass
Johanne James - Drums
Record Label: InsideOut Records
     


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