Lunar Shadow – Far From Light (Released March 10, 2017 – Cruz del Sur Music)
Dark riders on horseback come to take all you know and we must set out to stop the encroaching terror on this land. Are you with me? I warn you, this will not be easy. The road forward is fraught with peril, the frozen wasteland lays near and past that is the land of the faer folk. If we manage to find safe passage by land the sea and its monsters within will bear our final challenge. But, I promise you, if we conquer the dangers and put an end to this terror the bards will sing your songs ‘til the end of time. So, I ask again, are you with me?
Instead of sitting down and penning a 500-page novel of adventure, Lunar Shadow sat down (or stood, I don’t judge) with their instruments and for their debut effort created a brilliant tale of medieval adventure and called it Far From Light. Pure, traditional heavy metal, the guitars are intertwined in eternal harmony as the leads and riffs come in unending waves of awesome. The vocals soar in harmonizing cleans and do just enough to break from the monotony of other New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (NWOTHM) vocalists.1 Each track sets a scene with an opening soundscape such as the church bells and slamming door on They That Walk the Night or the crunch of snow on Frozen Goddess. They That Walk the Night is especially catching as it is upbeat and exciting, conjuring images of charging out on horseback. Gone Astray is the staple album ballad, the vocals croon alongside a lightly soloing guitar. Nearly harsh vocals appear on The Hour of Dying and coupled with the clean vocals the two pair to great success. Opening to the ominous sounds of the sea, Kraken is an epic fight for survival with the sea beast. Setting out slowly, with grave reservations, the voyage meets the mighty beast in the heat of a crackling storm, oh and the solo is awesome. Cimmeria is grief stricken from the opening harmonized notes which slowly build to a breakneck pace. The pace slows ever so slightly for an emotion filled solo which harnesses the opening grief and builds to an epic climax before riding into the rolling waves and the screech of gulls that begin Earendil. Acoustic guitars harmonize in rolling picked patterns as the gulls continue to announce their presence in the background. It is as if you have reached the final shores of your adventure and have dropped to your knees in the surf to gaze out to the distant horizon.
If Far From Light were an epic novel instead of an epic album it would have been one to wow its readers with tales of glory and excitement but also bore them with the details of every blade of grass tread upon and every mountain range crossed. No song is less than 6-minutes (besides the album closer, Earendil) and the riffs and leads, although great, fail to make the impact they could of as they are over played, eventually losing the initial power they brought. Lunar Shadow could have left a fair bit on the cutting room floor and that will be a lesson to take into their sophomore effort.
Metal; no suffixes, no prefixes, no extra shit, just metal in its purest form is a beautiful thing. Too often the sounds of the 80s that we came to love as we fell head over heels for Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and others get thoroughly butchered in the modern metal era but, no more. Spellcaster, Eternal Champion, and Sumerlands all released testaments to that in 2016 and now, come 2017, Lunar Shadow have added their own testament with Far From Light.