|Dreadful Shadows - Beyond The Maze
03. The Figures Of Disguise
04. Ties Of Time
06. The Soil
07. The Drowning Sun
08. Desolated Home
09. Burning The Shrouds
10. Beyond The Maze
After the exceptional "Buried Again", in which the Dreadful Shadows defined their personal sound flirting between the gothic rock essence and the metal aggressiveness, they released during the autumn of 1997 their third official album, "Beyond the Maze", their most complete work filled with utterly inspired and high-quality compositions, heavy dark atmosphere, bleak emotions and deeply esoteric and poetic lyrics dealing with solitude, pain and vampires in an exceptional way. The piano and the keyboard melodies along with the violin and the violoncello evoke an intense grey desolate atmosphere harmonizing beautifully with the doleful and deeply expressive interpretation of Sven Friedrich being accompanied by the nocturnal rhythm section evoking visions of darkness and the atmosphere-evoking guitar riffing and the beautifully painful guitar chords. "Shades are rising above my head, voices whisper a name" as the album slowly starts to echo…
…and sounds of forgotten times float in the air while listening to the opening piece of the album, "Crusade", leading to "Fall" with the guitars whether sounding heavier or softer paving wonderfully the way for the ecstatic keyboard and violin melodies to enrich the dark atmosphere accompanying Sven's great voice interpreting deeply poetic lyrics talking about someone seeming so peaceful, so tranquil, without pain and sorrows at his funeral day. "The Figures of Disguise" follows with the violin and the violoncello melancholic pieces along with the emotional guitar chords commencing the song. Soft guitars mainly consist of this song with Sven sounding utterly melodic whilst at the refrains they grow heavier with Sven sounding unearthly pacing with the heavy guitar riffing interpreting lyrics concerning vampires showing that a vampire can feel real love for a human yet the urge for blood will be victorious as always; "a vampire's heart can't abstain from loving you to death".
"Beyond the Maze" flows in nostalgic desolate tones evoked by the violin, the flute and the violoncello with "Ties of Time"; the soft music with some emotional outbursts, the lyrics and Sven's serene voice evoke a unique atmosphere of pure depression, pain and agony blackening the horizon of hope. The sad piano pieces take their place in the album opening the following composition, "Craving", as Sven's emotional voice is enough to tie you down in misery with the ecstatic but mysterious piano piece stealing the show with Sven painting the atmosphere with grey colours as the song goes on. The album continues in the tranquil vein of the previous two compositions with "The Soil", an atmospheric slow composition by the Shadows in which the only instruments taking place are the flute and the atmosphere-evoking keyboard melodies evoking a painful feeling expressed wonderfully by Sven's descriptive voice. The violin paints beautifully the beginning of the following song, "The Drowning Sun", groovier and heavier than the previous ones with exceptional use of the violin for one more time and Sven showing the grandeur of his voice.
A heavy composition, "Desolated Home", where the heavy guitar riffing harmonizes beautifully with the violin melodies and the keyboard ideas evoking a heavy atmosphere lets the album flow wonderfully leading slowly to "Burning the Shrouds", one of their most renowned pieces. The keyboards evoke a nocturnal atmosphere while the stunning guitars accompany Sven's and Felicia's enchanting voices with Sven singing in a melodic at times whilst at others screaming way showing for one more time why he is one of the most gifted interpreters in the gothic scene. The album reaches the end with a melancholic opus, the tile-track "Beyond the Maze".
The keyboard melodies, the guitar chords that turn to guitar riffing as the song goes on, the bleeding violin pieces, Sven's utterly expressive, deeply emotional voice painting the soundscape with colours of the heart and the emotionally charged lyrics that speak of memories that would bring happiness to everyone, but not now that the one of the two lovers is dead and the living one remembers while the diary of his life is burnt and every word she said comes back to mind in terror making "Beyond the Maze" one of their best and most heart-rending compositions ending this brilliant album in an appropriate way.
If you want to listen to one of the best and most personal gothic releases during the 90s you definitely shouldn't miss "Beyond the Maze"!
Written on 26.12.2004 by
"It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."