On December 13th, 2017, Warrel Dane passed away in São Paulo while recording the follow-up to 2008’s ‘Praises To The War Machine’. ‘Shadow Work’ was supposed to be an 80 minutes long opus and while all instruments had been recorded, Warrel passed away before completing all vocal tracks.
But, enough had been tracked during pre-production and the actual recording for everyone to band together and release an album which is a little more than 40 minutes long. Is this what Warrel would have released if he had still been around? Probably not, but is it just a tribute to the ex-singer of Nevermore and Sanctuary? In many ways it is, but it is also far more than that. In reality this is a bloody enjoyable album, one where Warrel had travelled to Brazil to record with Brazilian session musicians, and created a piece of art which is superb.
There is a groove underlying this, combined with very heavy guitarwork and basslines, with the drums powering it all along. His emotional vocals show his years of operatic training, as he allows his natural baritone to provide warmth and depth, rarely moving up the register. His vocals are at the forefront, but never to the detriment of what is happening around him, and given this is an unfinished album in many ways one can only wonder how massive this would have been if he had been able to do everything he had wanted with it. A fitting bookend to his musical career, this is an album that lovers of atmospheric progressive metal should seek out as it is well worth hearing.