Words like “distinctive” and “legendary” are bandied around far too frequently at bands and artists with no discernible legacy, or real impact on any scene. With both Sanctuary and Nevermore vocalist Warrel Dane helped impart a genuine influence on both the Thrash Metal and Heavy Metal landscapes, before his tragic passing away from a heart attack in December 2017 while recording Shadow Work (Century Media).
The forty-one minutes that is now released to the public represents approximately half of the planned album, but by utilising a combination of vocals tracked during pre-production and final takes, the concluding element of Dane’s heritage is more than fit for release. Existing in a very close sphere to his former band, Nevermore, his second solo opus is every bit as dramatic, epic, twisted, dark and, well, Metal as you would expect.
In terms of a vocal performance, if you weren’t aware you would struggle to identify that some of these were rough or unpolished tracks, such is the panache and conviction – there is no mistaking the impassioned delivery which has been prevalent throughout Dane’s career – with which they are delivered, while his trademark multi-layered warped harmonies are in abundance.
Technically excellent, and with a jagged heart, with drive and energy, his supporting cast have helped craft this twisted tower dire of an obituary. From the brilliantly abrasive ‘Madame Satan’ and it’s off-centre vocal hook through to the monumental nine-minute ‘Mother Is The Word For God’, a gloriously theatrical journey of a number, Shadow Work is every bit as heavy, biting and metallic as his heaviest releases with Nevermore, as elements of Thrash, Groove Metal and traditional Heavy Metal riffs all vie within a Progressive Metal skeleton to flesh out a body of work that is a fitting epitaph.