Kiss The Ashes
Fragile yet forceful, Shadow Image's music fuses together distinctive features of goth/deathrock with classical piano passages. In consequence, their dramatic rock is endowed with a special aura of mysticism and a certain baroque-esque vibe. The duo from Flint (Michigan), consisting of Harley Mace (vocals/all instruments) and Mandy Monster (keyboards), honours influential bands such as Nosferatu, Christian Death or Sopor Aeternus through their creations. But make no mistake, these are only a few isolated coordinates of a complex style plan. The band's sound is as fresh and groundbreaking as their own image is. Shadow Image's first full-length album "Kiss The Ashes" (released on May 24, 2013) easily proves that fact. The Americans already showed their potential with their debut self-title EP in 2012 but, in this new episode, the band seems to move on a step further in depth and creativity. The eleven tracks included in this record are quite more sophisticated and evocative, resulting as a whole in a haunting reverie.
Imbued by Harley's expressive baritones and moans, the album's opener "This Side Of The Wasteland" sets up the dominant backdrop through harpsichord melodies, jangly guitar playing and ghostly voice samples. Following that path, but also slightly faster-paced, we find the title track. The distant, howling guitars give an anguish-inducity counterpoint to the vibrant rhythmical core and sharp the dramatic singing. Along with the previous cut, this song is one of the album's crowning moments. "The Call Of Midnight" gives yet another turn of the screw to the theatrical vibe. Tormented vocals hovering over a close-woven network which is made up of shimmery piano notes, assertive riffs and throbbing drums. Then comes another highlight, "In the Name Of". Harley's voice is echoed by winding string melodies, performing a gloomy duet, while the solemn keyboards and persistent patterns of drums and bass, join the epic guitar solos to drive the intense pace. Mysterious, flowing vocal melodies twirl the haunting piano notes in the instrumental "There In The Snow", which acts as a prelude of "I Died For Love", spherical and melancholic. Thrown by crow cawings and ominous distortions, the following cut "The Shadows Linger On" is a winning and elegant deathrock number. Pulsating bass gallops, drumming outburst, screaming guitars and raspy vocals full of despair, are the keys of this powerful melodrama. "Shades Of Demise" keeps that flame burning in a slowed-down tempo, with a strongest keyboard presence and prominent bass figures. Under its goth rock appearence, "Lost But Not Forgotten" hides an appealing approach to the symphonic dark metal sounds. Their respective piano versions, "Shade's Piano" and "Lost But Not Forgotten" (Reprise), complete the album's tracklist. Both pieces brim with magic and linger in the memory.
Though Shadow Image seems to stay in the canons laid by the goth/deathrock mythical bands, they manage to mix in some new elements of their very own. "Kiss the Ashes" is melodious and powerful at the same time. Soothing cathedral solemnity and intense rhythms to the delight of the tormented souls. Thanks to this duo, the transfer between generations is far more ensured now.
Review by Billyphobia