Wuthering Heights - The Shadow Cabinet
Sensory Records
Power Metal with strong Progressive and Folk overtones
Disc 1: 10 songs (55'37") Disc 2: 7 songs (43'01")
Release year: 2007
Wuthering Heights, Sensory Records
Reviewed by Alex

As of late I have been enamored with all things Danish. This, no doubt, has a lot to do with my possible doing business with two Danish companies, one of them very sizable. (I am keeping my fingers crossed). So, while in this soft state of mind, I’d be inclined to give just about any Danish band a good review, I guess I can be had for the right price after all.

Of course it helps if the article under consideration is the next discography entry for one of my favorite power metal collectives, Wuthering Heights. (OK, they will get exactly one more extra point to the quote for being Danish). Having finished the Traveler trilogy with Far from the Madding Crowd, the new platter is out on Sensory (US) and is titled The Shadow Cabinet. Line-up changes are a regular thing with Wuthering Heights, but as long as Erik Ravn is composing and playing guitar and he still has Nils Patrik Johansson (I think he is a Swede, but he gets a pass) to man the vocal duties, quality material is almost guaranteed.

I am yet to delve deeper in the superb album lyrics (Faith – Apathy Divine Part I has a strong profound sense of life message), but if The Shadow Cabinetis the start of the new trilogy, then we are in for more good music down the road. Wuthering Heights, for me anyway, have managed to create a style of power metal which unquestionably stands out from the rest of the crowd. For some, genre bending is trying to throw things into the mixer, grind thoroughly and see if anything is going to stick by throwing it at the wall. Not Wuthering Heights. Their concoction of power, speed, progressive and folk tinged metal is organic – and that is a winning recipe. The Shadow Cabinet is another slab of engaging, melodic and musically complex metal, richly recorded to boot (thank you, Tommy Hansen). Without recently developed Blind Guardian trait to make everything overly dramatic, Wuthering Heights can have poppy melody, numerous Helloween speed runs (Beautifool, Envy), Hammerfall oh-oh choruses (The Raven), strong Falconer-like Norse influences (Sleep), all alongside some very masculine riffs (Demon Desire, I Shall Not Yield) and progressive passages (The Raven, I Shall Not Yield) – all in the span of 10 songs. OK, so there is a little bit of the dramatic flair, with the narration (I Shall Not Yield, Reason … ?) and the epic song structure (Capre Noctem – Seize the Night). But, hey, all is forgiven once an awesome Russian melody surfaces in the same song 4 min in.

The Shadow Cabinetnever gets stale. Prominent bass lines and Hungarian chardash on Demon Desire, Celtic violin and Skyclad riffing on Faith – Apathy Divine Part I, boisterous Irish Gary Mooresque opening yielding to a touch of darkness on Envy, a capello folk singing on Sleep – there is a lot to gather here, so once you get past original catchiness, dig in. To help you along the way, Nils Patrik Johansson will provide you with his awesome Dio, Jeff Scott Soto imitation, changing, almost chameleon-like, between storytelling, soaring, and at times almost gruff style, but always manly and daring.

Given all of this, I will also forgive parts of The Shadow Cabinetveering too much into out-of-control prog territory (something To Travel For Evermore suffered from), The Raven solo shredding endlessly, Hammond sounds on I Shall Not Yield and Snow – Apathy Divine Part II borrowing an obvious hook from Stratovarius Father Time. If for some things may appear a bit disjointed, I’d rather see them as diverse, the cup always remains half full with this band for me. There is fine teetering line when the bands of this ilk go overboard, but Wuthering Heights almost always stays on the right end of the ledge, and could definitely teach Diversity 101 to (yawn) Hammerfall and (a little stuck in a rut) Falconer.

While Japanese fans get Shadow of a Gypsy bonus and Europeans are treated to a Midnight Song ballad (with a middle section oh so similar to MSG Never Ending Nightmare), we, the Americans, are treated to the seven song live bootleg from the band’s gig at ProgPower in 2004. If I didn’t have respect for Wuthering Heights before, I certainly do now. They can reproduce what they do in the studio, mandolin and all, manage to sound MUCH heavier and Nils Patrik is indeed Dio reincarnated, with a younger throat.

Killing Songs :
Demon Desire, Beautifool, Faith - Apathy Divine Part I, Snow - Apathy Divine Part II
Alex quoted 84 / 100
Jeff quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Wuthering Heights that we have reviewed:
Wuthering Heights - Salt reviewed by Kyle and quoted 93 / 100
Wuthering Heights - Far From The Madding Crowd reviewed by Alex and quoted 92 / 100
Wuthering Heights - To Travel For Evermore reviewed by Alex and quoted 77 / 100
Wuthering Heights - Within reviewed by Chris and quoted 84 / 100
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