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Kambrium - "Shadowpath" (CD)

Kambrium - "Shadowpath" CD cover image

"Shadowpath" track listing:

1. Shadowpath (Intro) (1:31)
2. Among The Lost (5:05)
3. Arming For Retribution (6:42)
4. Thanatos (5:45)
5. Feuer gegen Feuer (5:02 )
6. Hollow Heart (5:41)
7. Hiding In Sorrow (4:11)
8. The Eye Of Horus (5:48)
9. Dewfall (2:43)
10. A Sinner's Remorse (7:56)

Reviewed by on January 9, 2012

"...I haven’t heard a band this interesting since the first time Epica graced my ears."

Some releases just hit me at the right place and the right time. Kambrium’s debut full length “Shadowpath” is the breath of fresh air in the sea of metal released on a monthly basis. Although I may have come to the party a bit late on this one (it having been self-released in June 2011 prior to signing with Massacre Records), I haven’t heard a band this interesting since the first time Epica graced my ears. With such a mashing of styles, had I heard this earlier, it would have been one of my top picks for 2011.

Hailing from the land where great metal lives, Germany, Kambrium has been kicking around the scene for the past six years before landing the contract and debut re-issue with Massacre. The style is so hard to pin down: with a whole lot of progressive, a healthy dose of both power and hyper-fast black metal, a dash of extreme and clean, death and black metal style singing, Kambrium simply cannot be contained. The band is highly talented and certainly loves showing it off. For those up and coming bands that wish to learn a lesson in perfect keyboard placement, you need to listen to “Shadowpath.”

Let’s take the album’s best song “A Sinner’s Remorse” for an in depth analysis. The band weaves a cacophony of styles comprised of the best elements of melodic death, power, progressive, and classical. The song begins a slow ascent to madness, erupting into symphonic power metal with crushing riffs and clean (albeit, not the best) vocals before settling in for a bit of melo-death. Just when you think you can pin the band’s sound down, the song twists and turns, even converting to a cover of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony smack dab in the middle. The result is pure excitement and it stands as one of the best metal songs of all time.

In other notable tracks, the band scales the boundaries of incredible melodic brutality (“Among the Lost,” “Thanatos,” “Feuer Gegen Feuer”), fires off ultra-catchy riffs (“Arming for Retribution”), creates power/death ballads (“Hollow Heart”) and produces epic opuses like “The Eye of Horus” (which is almost as great as “A Sinner’s Remorse"). If you fancy Epica or Insomnium with a seasoning of Dissection, this release screeches out to you.

The only downside is that like most death metal vocalists, Martin Simon’s vocals can be a bit grating on the skull, especially when he varies from guttural to screech in the same song. Fans of the extreme side of metal will scoff at this as a “downside,” but it wouldn’t hurt to hear a little more clean singing to provide balance. On the other hand, Simon is a much better death singer than clean.

Kambrium presents a new face of genre-bending metal, one filled with melody, brutality, and overall excitement. “Shadowpath” is definitely an album to remember and one that should establish the band as one of metal’s finest!

Highs: Highly exciting metal with a indefinable style (or styles).

Lows: The album needs a bit more balance vocally by adding more clean vocals.

Bottom line: Kambrium strikes a blow to those attempting to define metal styles blazing a "Shadowpath" to exciting new boundaries.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)