All Things Fallen – Shadow Way (Blackoak Records)

Friday, 3rd June 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

It’s always helpful to have specific bullet points to get a leg up on the plethora of releases flooding the scene these days. In the case of Swedish progressive metal artists All Things Fallen, it’s featuring members of Pain of Salvation and Darkwater in the ranks – drummer Leo Margarit and guitarist/keyboardist/bassist Markus Sigfridsson specifically. Expanding the lineup for a quartet to follow-up 2019’s self-titled debut, Shadow Way extends the group’s melodic approach to the genre, while also reaching back into some 70’s and melancholic textures.

Choosing to deal with current events/issues in a metaphorical stance lyrically, the music also contains a moodiness through specific tones and additional narrative embellishment beyond the conventional instrumentation. There’s a straightforward power to the riffs that allows the rhythm section of Leo plus bassist Raphael Dafras opportunity to enhance prowess in left-field directions – check out the funky swinging aspects during “Pandemonium” that contrast the lower-tuned, Evergrey-like drive. There’s an impassioned spirit to the delivery of singer Erik Tordsson – his range emotionally engaging in a solid, melodic stance, hitting certain high range notes for “Path of Dismay” that coupled with fine harmony support makes this track a fine standout – the galloping/crunchy guitars galvanizing, plus the keyboard break adding a Dream Theater-esque touch. The longest track “Desert of the Real” is an eight-minute plus tour de force: somber keyboards fading into some titanic riffs with exotic touches, Markus unleashing a dramatic guitar break reaching a fine, satisfying musical conclusion with some neoclassical touches. While there are layers to uncover and process song to song, the essential components contain all the necessary hooks, melodies, and reference points to quickly catch and capture listeners.

A logical successor to the first effort, Shadow Way is one of those moody melodic progressive metal albums that sneaks into gem status for many (including this scribe). The 70’s aspects of Deep Purple and Rainbow factor into the band’s already proven status with their major outfits – All Things Fallen striding confidently where they wish to go, hopefully gaining more of a following as a result.

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