Many tend to forget there are plenty of bands in the underground creating musical art.
A lot of them are quite subpar and likely not to go anywhere, but there are those with an abundance of drive and determination working at producing quality products of compositions that could rank against the world’s finest. In the case of Melbourne’s Gothic metal quartet Rainshadow, that could not be any more true as they release Waters Imperium, the follow up to their 2007 debut release End Songs.
The sound of silently picked clean guitar segues into the album opener “Melancholy Redux”, five minutes of gothic metal goodness flowing out of the speakers with a combintion of heavy driving riff, delicate strings and Ben Williamson’s dulcet baritone (that brings to mind a cross between Iva Davies and Paradise Lost’s Nick Holmes). As Waters Imperium flows on, “Exit Wounds”, “Her White Empire” and “Death in the Afternoon” are straight ahead gothic metal displays laden with ambient orchestration and atmosphere that sound both bright and upbeat yet dark and depressuve without crashing into each other. “Imperfect Wave” draws from a darker and doomier way of thinking, “Cold Years” has an older My Dying Bride feel – especially Williamson’s vocals taking on an Aaron Stainthorpe approach, and the instrumental “The Spider and the Swan” shifts from delicate to hard hitting. The title track is a gothic doom metal salvo reminiscent of the older days of the genre with fellow Melbournian, Okera vocalist Jayme Sexton, providing some menacingly evil growled vocals that send a chill up your spine. Waters Imperium does tend to suffer from sounding a little bit similar if you aren’t paying attention, but that can be perceived as positive as the tracks flow together well.
Taking on the production and mixing role is The Eternal’s main man Mark Kelson and he delivers an effort that conveys every instrument in a balanced out role. The only gripe would be that the snare drum sounds a bit sterile. I think that Rainshadow’s music would have benefited from an open and warmer 70s style drum sound.
Waters Imperium is a pleasant effort from the Rainshadow guys. They only have to keep rising from here and they could be the next big thing to breakout within the Gothic metal genre. If you are a fan of Gothic metal in all of its forms, you will no doubt enjoy what Rainshadow present on Waters Imperium.
1. Melancholy Redux
2. Exit Wounds
3. Imperfect Wave
6. Death in the Afternoon
7. Cold Years
8. The Spider and the Swan
9. Her White Empire
10. Waters Imperium