Sojourner
The Shadowed Road


4.0
excellent

Review

by Gameofmetal STAFF
March 19th, 2018 | 105 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Within the niche of a niche, Sojourner find their home.

At some point this whole fantasy literature obsessed wave of symphonic black metal has to get old right" Summoning has been executing it at such a high level for so long, and now we have groups like Caladan Brood reaching even greater heights. All it takes is a cursory glance through bandcamp to find a plethora of Summoning-lite bands trying their hand at the ever so niche style. At some point it’s going to be too much. And yet here I am reviewing another fantasy literature obsessed symphonic black metal album and loving every second of it.

While it’s easy to lump these bands together homogeneously, closer inspection reveals some variety, spanning the spectrum from Summoning’s drawn out, keyboard centric style to Sojourner’s more immediate, hook laden take. It’s in this niche of a niche that Sojourner’s sophomore release, The Shadowed Road, flourishes. Empires of Ash was a delightful debut, eschewing patience for instrumental variation and immediacy. Was it incredibly original" No, Sojourner struggled as many of their brethren did and do to escape the shadow of Summoning’s influence. Perhaps the key mistake is in believing that they ever can. I’m quick to proclaim Caladan Brood’s solitary debut as the current pinnacle of the sound, but there’s no denying that it was built from the foundation and framework of songs that came before. What is possible is to dig in and fortify yourself a space in that sphere of influence, and in that space you can find a need to satisfy.

That need is for a more casual execution of the sound. What The Shadowed Road does is balance trope with accessibility. The guitarwork isn’t relegated to the same repetitive tremolo passages, instead memorable guitar leads and traditionalist riffs take center stage at many points. Likewise the drumwork isn’t confined to droning tribal patterns in favor of standard, but varied contemporary beats. Sweeping keyboards remain a central focus, but it’s appreciable that they were scaled back to allow so much else to have its moment in the mix. What really sells the record is Chloe Bray’s central vocal performance. Never an exceptional voice by any means, she lent a calming presence to the tracks she appeared in on Empires of Ash, but here she is utilized more fully. At times emulating the melodic turns Enya lent to the soundtrack of the first entry in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, she brings Sojourner further into this niche of a niche they seem intent on occupying.

Is The Shadowed Road an exceptional album" No, but it has its place. Here we have a finely executed, but unsurprising alternative to Summoning’s original approach, an album that makes an inherently long-winded and campy style as approachable as it can possibly be. I don’t expect Sojourner to go down as one of the greats in black metal, but they’re doing something altogether necessary. And that is a fine thing indeed.



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Empires of Ash

Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2018


10580 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don't really think I did that great of a job on this one, and I'm late as hell to boot, but I felt that I needed to get something out to begin to escape this creative rut I'm in. Come to think of it when I reviewed their last album I was in a similar place.



Whatever, pretty good album and it deserved something.

Beardog
March 19th 2018


2764 Comments


Not a fan of the female vocals, this is pretty good musically though.

InFlamesWeThrash666
March 19th 2018


8894 Comments


You might want to change those " to ?

Will check this

Digging: Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces of Palingenesia

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2018


18641 Comments


the " thing is a site-wide glitch

Digging: Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson - Bridges

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2018


11675 Comments


This seems like a significant improvement over their debut for me. Feels a bit less black metal but the piano and tin whistle are better integrated into the songs rather than just creating passages and intros.

Digging: Flame, Dear Flame - The Millenial Heartbeat

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
March 19th 2018


9480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Prefer this to the last album to be honest

InFlamesWeThrash666
March 19th 2018


8894 Comments


the " thing is a site-wide glitch

Didn't know that,sorry

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 19th 2018


15838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love this thing. Tx for covering it Game.

Digging: Full of Hell - Weeping Choir

AdolfChrist
March 19th 2018


20986 Comments


Sounds promising. I thought their last one was quality but showed potential for something better. Hopefully this is that.

Digging: Deus Mortem - Kosmocide

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 19th 2018


8943 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I consciously avoid question marks in my reviews now because of that dumb error. Wish it'd go away but I don't foresee that



Maybe it's been a while but I remember liking the last one quite a bit. This one didn't work as much.

Hawks
March 19th 2018


70820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Been waiting on this review Game bro. m/



Album slays hard.

Digging: Misthyrming - Algleymi

chug73
March 20th 2018


3799 Comments


This surprised me. Actually is kind of good.

Sevengill
March 20th 2018


9177 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

"Is The Shadowed Road an exceptional album? No, but it has its place."

buzzer wrong. album is, indeed, exceptional.

Hawks
March 20th 2018


70820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It rules hard yeah, but idk if I'd say "exceptional" tbh. Same with the last album, they're pretty equal for me.

ScuroFantasma
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2018


11689 Comments


Nice review, looking forward to hearing this. Read the word niche so many times it's lost all meaning though ;)

Digging: Russkaja - No One Is Illegal

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 20th 2018


15838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

And the female voice is very welcomed.

AdolfChrist
March 20th 2018


20986 Comments


I wasnt a fan of the female vox on the last one but maybe ill feel different this time.

AdolfChrist
March 20th 2018


20986 Comments


Btw did they actually use any real supporting instruments this time or is it still all MIDI shit?

Surtur
March 20th 2018


563 Comments


Some real melodeath vibes going on this time imo

Hawks
March 20th 2018


70820 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This band's female vox are sooooo good Adolf bro.



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