When Shadows Fall

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If it looks like a 1970s/1980s metal band and sounds like a 1970s/1980s metal band, it just might be a 1990s/2000s metal band instead. Item: Reflection's When Shadows Fall is a 2008 release that draws most if its inspiration from pre-1990s metal, and there is none of the punk influence that is a big part of so much metal in the 21st century. From alternative metal to death metal and black metal to metalcore, punk's influence on post-'80s metal has been enormous. But When Shadows Fall, which is this Greek band's third album, is decidedly old-school when it comes to riffs, melodies, and lyrics. Reflection's work is often described as "epic/doom metal," which is accurate; the fantasy-based lyrics have that epic quality, and the melodies and riffs are slow and deliberate. When Shadows Fall could be described as a combination of Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, and Candlemass, with hints of bands like Uriah Heep and Budgie. This 47-minute CD is consistently melodic -- and even though the songs rock aggressively, none of them are terribly harsh or abrasive (certainly not by 2008 standards). Reflection like to describe their work as not only "epic/doom metal," but more specifically, "Hellenic epic/doom metal" -- and in fact, there are occasional elements of Greek music on When Shadows Fall. But the album as a whole might have been more distinctive and original-sounding if that Greek influence had been more prominent. More often than not, When Shadows Fall plays it safe, but it's still a nicely crafted and enjoyable outing -- especially if one fancies 21st century headbangers who stubbornly hold on to their love of metal from the 1970s and 1980s.

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