Blood of Indigo – Dawn of the Shaded World Review

Here’s an interesting factoid for you: in my formative metal years, one of my all-time favorite “guilty pleasure”1 genres of metal was of the Gothic variety. Back in the 90s, groups like Moonspell, Tiamat, and Samael ruled my heart and eardrums with their combined ferocity, ingenuity, and dark energy to the point where I searched out many a band bedecked in frilly shirts and side-laced leather pants.2 So when Toronto upstarts Blood of Indigo look to welcome back a treasured sound which, combined with their love of gaming(!!!), I thought that this should be a no-brainer, win-win scenario, especially when you consider they spent five years working on their debut, Dawn of the Shaded World… you jumped ahead and looked at the score, didn’t you?

First off, the positives: Alex Centorame has a great growling voice, guttural and deep, yet clearly enunciated, with a close resemblance to Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) in delivery and vibe. His bandmates, guitarist Mariusz Syposz3 and keyboardist Nathan Gross,4 can shred their asses off on their respective instruments, so when it comes to their times to shine, they throw down tremendous Dream Theater-esque leads that help flavor each and every song on here. Finally, from a brief perusal of their band page, they seem like good dudes who would be rad to hang out and compare Elden Ring builds with for hours at a time. As a gamer myself, I should be all over this album.

But my god, does Dawn of the Shaded World miss some critical saving throws. First off, the production suffers from two major problems. One, there are moments where the volume unlocks a gloriously vast double-jump, such as the final minute or so of “The Hunter’s Nightmare” and in various points of opener “Mimesia,” as if to proclaim, “Here, have ALL the tinnitus!” Two, Gross’ keyboards take up way too much space, suffocating everything else within earshot, like on “Resurrection.” Worse than that, though, is that for all of the 68 minutes of Nightwish-fronted-by-Shagrath, precious little of it sticks its landing.

That last problem is a case-by-case issue. In some songs, they meander a bit but end abruptly just as they build up to something good, like on “Resurrection” and “Angelus, the ‘Faceless’ Vampire.”5 In others, they meander and don’t have a highlight, like on the closing title track where former Cradle of Filth keyboardist/vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft makes an appearance, and not even that could soften the boredom. But the most massive elephant salivating incongruous spider6 in the room can be found in “Mimesia.”

Oh, “Mimesia.” I love a good build-up. Instrumental openers, when done right, can set such a fantastic mood, and get the blood and fists pumping, making you eager to dive right in and partake in the album. Blind Guardian are masters of this. So upon my first listen of “Mimesia,” the song, rife with cinematic orchestration and seemingly wrapped up about three minutes in, and I was ready for the metal to kick me full-bore in the teeth… then another completely different part came on. Once that wrapped up a few minutes later, yet another different part came on. And another. And yet another. Finally, I looked at my phone, and saw that this was fourteen minutes long with five completely different songs within, possessed very little flow between each section, and made absolutely no sense as to why this is the opener of a debut. PRO-TIP FOR NEW BANDS: Never, ever, ever open an album like this. To say that this was patience-testing is being gentle to the extreme.

And I’ve said enough. There is so much potential and talent within Blood of Indigo, and Dawn of the Shaded World exhibits those brief-yet-brilliant flashes. However, until the band renders the fat off, constructs pay-offs for their build-ups, and learns to tighten, tighten, TIGHTEN, the Blood’s going to have a hard time moving forward. For as well-meaning as this album was crafted, Dawn of the Shaded World is in dire need of a respec.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Independent Release
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: August 26th, 2022

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Never feel guilty about what you love, peeps.
  2. Someone please bring this look back.
  3. Also the album’s bassist and drum programmer.
  4. Who also handles orchestrations.
  5. Yes, the one-sheet has quotes around the “Faceless” part. So the vampire is kinda-sorta-not-really faceless, I guess.
  6. This is actually in the spoken word section of “Novice Pyromancy,” so I don’t wanna hear it from any of you.
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