Wuthering Heights - The Shadow Cabinet
After two anonymous and mediocre albums, Within (1999)
and To Travel For Evermore (2002), danish band Wuthering Heigths certainly
hit the jackpot with the album Far From A Madding Crowd (2004) which
is one of few albums that I have given the top rate 10/10 on this site
and I still stand behind that grade to this day. My anticipation on
this album were of course set sky high but at the same time I tried
to keep it relistic and could not really hope that they could surpass
the last effort or even reach the same level. But, dear readers, I kid
you not when I say that this album is even better than the previous
one, and that in all aspects. How am I now going to set a grade on this
album, you might ask? Keep reading and you will see how I have chosen
to solve this dilemma.
The transitions between fast and slow, heavy and light, straight and progressive parts just blend together seamlessly and beautifully. The best from two worlds work in a perfect symbios here: the classic and fast heavy metal with amazing guitar solos and leads, and the folk inspired elements. This time the metal parts dominate a bit more than last time and here the folk elements are portioned out in more concentrated but intense parts and serve even more as brilliant spice for the music when they set in.
I will not try to describe each song in detail since I don't think I can do them justice in a few words in here, and they are so complex that I would not know where to start. I would however like to describe listening to this album as looking at a very dramatic and flamboyant 18- or 19th century play with many turns of events and shifts in moods. Just to get you an idea.
We have arrived to the end of my short conclusion of what this album is about and it is time for the chalices to be handed out. I was planning on, in true Spinal Tap spirit, handing out (for the first and most likely last time in Metal Covenant's history) 11 chalices of 10. That is truly how good this album is but I fear that I would put myself in an impossible position since I feel that this band has potential to grow even more and what happens if the next album is even better than this? 12 out of 10? 13....? No, that would be to twist everything in absurdum so I think I will settle for "just" 10 out of 10 this time too.
reading our chief editor's review I got an immediate urge to clarify
things a bit. Even if it was a brilliant review that I agree with and
can stand behind in almost every aspect I still feel that the album
deserves even more praise. The Shadow Cabinet is simply put a piece
of art. Every single composition and every single note inhabits an extraordinary
perfection and beauty that is beyond my imagination of what I thought
was possible. From here there can't be any progression, this is how
good it gets. If the next album will be anywhere close it still can
be categorised as a masterpiece, but an album on par with The Shadow
Cabinet? No way! I'm in awe over the mastermind Eric Ravn, what he has
produced with this album is almost unhuman. I'm having what he's having,