The Shadowed Road
Band / Release Notes
Sojourner is a multi-national atmospheric metal band from New Zealand, Sweden, and Italy.
The sophomore slump is nothing that Sojourner needs to concern themselves with
When I listened to Sojourner's debut release, 'Empires of Ash', I was really impressed with the album and thought they'd have a tough time following it up. Well, I've got my spoon ready to eat my serving of crow because 'The Shadowed Road' blows it out of the water. The band has really matured in their songwriting process and rather than stick with the trappings of atmospheric black metal, they delve into melodic interludes, soaring guitars and some really emotional tracks throughout the release.
I'll spend most of my verbiage talking about the album's title track and closer rather than tackle all the tracks on an individual basis. 'The Shadowed Road' epitomizes what Sojourner does so well and that is really using the dual vocals of Chloe Bray and Emilio Crespo masterfully well. Crespo's raspy, harsh vocals are offset by the dulcet, emotional cleans of Bray and the dynamic they create is really just quite fantastic. Bray really shines on this track with a performance that brought chills throughout my person as the track unfolded. Add to that some incredibly soaring guitar work, really good drumming and solid rhythm work and you get the perfect closing track as well as a track that will stay playing constantly in my playlist. I could easily see this having been included in any of Peter Jackson's Middle Earth films as it makes me feel I'm on a trek to Hobbiton.
That being said, there are a few little hiccups here and there where the songs sort of fizzle out or run a bit too long and really knock things off the blazing path the band had been forging up to that point. Also, the production could be tweaked a little bit to allow the bass guitar and synths to shine a little more as they get buried in the overall mix and Bray's vocal sections really need some attention too as they feel a bit restrained in the way they were mixed. And I'd really like to hear more of Bray in the next album, they really should use those dual vocals a bit more. But production and personal gripes aside, this album really is one that should get the band some serious notoriety that is well deserved. If you need an album to really pick you up and breathe some life into a genre that is somewhat exhausted, go out and get Sojourner's 'The Shadowed Road'.