Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Shadowplay ~ Burnt Paradise

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Style: heavy metal, industrial
Label: self-released
Year: 2010
Home: North Carolina

Members: J. Williams ~ vocals/guitar/bass

Additional: Kevin Watson, Kurt Dellinger ~ drums


The debut by Shadowplay, aka guitarist/singer/composer J. Williams with the help of a couple friends behind the drum kit, is an atmospheric metal outing that tends to creep along slowly with long dangling distorted notes & unhurried vocals versus fast thrashy playing. It's not exactly industrial ... or at least it doesn't wallow in electronic or keyboard tweakings & awkward rhythms, though there are some electronic drums on a handful of songs ... but if you think of the ballad part of the genre there's was definetly a lot of fumes from that part of industrial floating around the brain of Williams when he created Burnt Paradise. Both musically & lyrically the inspiration is all too obvious on a few tracks, while others tend to be more hard rock. The difference in Shadowplay's take on industrial is that that isn't a dense release with a lot of layers that marks a lot of industrial music nor does it rip everything apart to create a barren landscapes of just a few plunked notes. Though, that being said, the standout "Pure Dark" does play with basic notes crashing quickly out of nowhere, bubbling drums, guitar effects & the wonders of stereo to create perfect industrial trance-like moodiness while "Dead In Hollywood" & "Anger Burns" sound like Marilyn Manson demo tracks & the later particularly so with the vocals, but both tracks lack the intricate layered density of Manson. Lyrically Williams is casting out demons of his vision of what a burnt paradise looks like as the aforementioned song titles belay, plus: "Depraved", "Somethings In The People", "Memories Of You", "Like A Threat", "Not Alone", "Used You". Shadowplay is aiming for something in the middle ground with both heavy songs & lighter songs, even a solo acoustic piece "Grown From Our Youth" ending the album, but outside of "Pure Dark" never really going too far in either direction. One can feel that Williams is trying to bring together different musical interests to create his own style, but one also wishes that he would choose one direction & develop it more fully. The industrial outings are under-developed while the hard rock end isn't exactly catching fire. For live performances Shadowplay has expanded into a full band which undoubtedly moved the music in new directions & make up for what couldn't be done alone in the studio.


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