Shrine of the Wanderer came out in March 2015 and is the third album from “mastermind of Majesty Of Revival and Ukrainian virtuoso Dimitriy Pavlovskiy!” or so it says on the press release. Who am I to argue as I know very little about Ukranian virtuosos!
What Pavlovskiy has managed to do with this album, though, is gather an eclectic range of rock and metal styles into what comes across as a compilation album. There’s no real genre you can drop the whole release into, instead the tracks being plucked from various types of music. A style which influences more songs than most would be that of progressive hard rock. Still, there are some pretty heavy numbers in there, a handful of generic hard rock, some more theatrical… it’s a good mixture.
Opener “Journey” screams power metal as it begins. Keyboards, soaring guitar riffs and harmonised vocals drift into the aforementioned prog styles until the chorus kicks in, belting out lyrics about riding to the north… and once again vestiges of DragonForce can be heard.
“Molder” is probably my favourite track on the album. A nice, light opening reminiscent of a more alternative sound builds into a fist-pumper of a chorus. Some lovely solos fill gaps in the song, but it’s just the simplicity of the song that I like. “Contour” goes all prog on us again, with disjointed downtuned guitar / bass fills and hopping rhythm changes.
Things get a little more orchestral with “Natural Ground” which tips its head in the direction of bands such as Eluveitie. “Bohyňa Usvitu” is an interesting number, with vocal sources including Mikhail Grudinin on “growling” and a female voice courtesy of Nelly Hanael. With the addition of her airy tones, it takes the feel of “Natural Ground” and pushes it more, places, in a Nightwish direction.
I like “Abacinate” for it’s slow, toe-tapping rhythm and for its name – a word I’d only ever heard before in Slayer’s “Angel of Death”. It means to blind someone by holding a red-hot metal plate in front of their eyes. Nice.
Tracks 8-11 are marked as “bonus” numbers on the copy I have and they’re well worth paying the extra for if there’s a price difference. “Screaming Pain” is a quality hard rock number, “Meacock” is quite trippy if you like that kind of thing, “Abandoned Shrine of the Wanderer” is something to completely relax to while you listen to it (saxophone solo, anyone?) and “Forgotten Nights” lets the keyboards shine.
Definitely an album to check out if you’ve got wide-ranging tastes, though as I said earlier it’s a little more prog than anything else. Give it a listen – it’s streamable on bandcamp from where you can buy a copy if it takes your fancy.