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On disc: Sky's Shadow

Romeo & Juliet - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo & Juliet
(Hammersound - 2010)

The German band Sky's Shadow is now presenting their sophomore release and it's a very ambitious one, coz it's a conceptual album based on Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. The quintet created a symphonic rock / metal opera, no big surprise as guitarist Tobias Schaaf and guitarist / violinist Christoph Wansleben are trained musicians who love classic music as well as metal. Singer Tim Schneider sings all the male parts and for the female vocal parts they hired Daniela Sandhofer who is part of the musical cast of We Will Rock You.
The album is a melange of progressive metal, symphonic rock and bombastic sounds - whatever the story needs, they offer. I think to split up the male vocal parts would have do the album good... At the balladesque Blessed Night Mr. Schneider is doing a bit better, but the duets with Daniela show that he hasn't the same experience. The lyrics cite the original text to give the lyrics more depth. The opening of Hatred is riff-based and the heavy guitar sound get mixed up with bombastic sounds to create the right atmosphere. But also offers some classic guitar with a dash of flamenco guitar embedded. Very cool.
Melancholy kicks off the symphonic tune Banished, but later picks up speed and heaviness. A sonic roller coaster ride, just as someone would emotionally go through in such a situation. A highlight of the album is Dangerous Love, an up-tempo rocker which shines through the vocal parts.
The balance between the instruments isn't perfect, coz so some details get almost lost. Sure, there are always things which can be made perfect, but this isn't a band which could afford to spend months in the studio and hire a renown producer. So, give it a try and support the Germans who had the guts to realize such an ambitious project.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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