|Title:||The Shadowed Road|
|Country:||New Zealand / Sweden / Italy|
|Translation:||Crypt Of Fear|
Eighteen months have passed since my praiseful presentation of the wonderful debut by Sojourner. I waited so eagerly for the moment to write about its successor, "The Shadowed Road". In this year and a half "Empires Of Ash" has continued to be a constant presence in my days, reconfirming itself each time as an incredibly beautiful work and now I can say, without any hesitations, that my high expectations for the new birth have been met.
With "Winter's Slumber" it immediately becomes clear how little has (luckily) changed from the debut: a splendid piano frame and airy melodies with an archaic flavor are the forerunners for an album full of priceless sweet and sour sensations. Chloe's poetic flute and the delicate voice underline epic but at the same time gentle and caressing passages, while robust and rhythmic riffs make solid structures to support an extremely developed atmospheric section: this is the concept that evidently is the bedrock for Sojourner's creativity.
"The Shadowed Road" musical coordinates are the same presented in "Empires Of Ash" and — although some might even complain about a lack of new solutions — the band proved to be very inspired and extremely skilled at embroidering plots with an epic undertone, at times more majestic and proud ("Ode To The Sovereign", "Where Lost Hope Lies", "Our Bones Among The Ruins"), or more bucolic and reflective ("The Shadowed Road", "Titan", "An Oath Sworn In Sorrow "). The result is an unavoidable push to visualize endless plains and virgin scrublands, landscapes from other eras and from other spatial realities: worlds in which the dominion of Man was probably very brief, where Mother Nature regains possession of what had been unduly subtracted from her, and human memories are only distant and vaguely perceptible references.
It is precisely in these characteristics that lies the marvelous strength of the music: the irresistible call to close one's eyes and let oneself be inundated by a diaphanous and profound beauty, by a lulling and evocative flow of creative energy. The quintet paints relentless visions of death and rebirth, of glorious melancholy and tragic triumphs, accompanying everything with a perennial and marvelous dream drive. All that remains for us is to be ecstatic spectators of a fascinating scenario, in which human presence is finally truly marginal.
The only real disappointment remaining is not to find enough words to describe a range of feelings so deep and complex, making the mere language really limiting for this purpose. Music with such an overflowing imaginative power simply deserves to be heard and experienced, letting the dreamy notes paint the mind of each according to their own inclinations.
It is not a mystery that this type of atmospheric Black Metal would probably cause sores and hives to a long line of purists, but it is equally evident that Sojourner only share with typical Black Metal a few moves: here you will not find frost, violence, anger and obscure invocations. If we were to talk about classifications (unfortunately necessary nowadays), this is a really beautiful record, provided of course you like elegiac atmospheres, omnipresent keyboards, Tolkenian saga epics and so on. In short, if you have loved "Empires Of Ash", you will also love "The Shadowed Road": you will dream a lot, travel far and hardly get tired of it.