Sojourner is an atmospheric black metal band comprising members from the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Spain, and Italy. A pretty multicultural formation, isn’t it? ‘The Shadowed Road’ is the band’s second full-length, and it’s also the second time their album has been released by the Italian label Avantgarde Music. With running time slightly surpassing 50-minute mark, Sojourner’s sophomore is a fairly impressive offering. If you’re interested in haunting melodies, dense atmosphere, and ethereal female vocals, you’re in the right place as this one is definitely worth your attention.
The album commences with a blissful piano chant that perfectly sets the mood for the latter parts of the release. With the very first track, entitled Winter’s Slumber, it’s clearly discernible what the band’s music is about, namely, heavy atmospheric riffs, harsh male shrieks intertwined with beautiful female singing, and rumbling drums. These three constituents create a consistent unity that makes this release very enjoyable and beckoning. The album gives the impression of professionalism in all aspects of this word; its production is close to being flawless, the tracks are well-thought and organic, and the overall sound, which evokes the aura of mysteriousness, is powerful and resounding. I’m not particularly surprised by the output’s excellent production since it’s the mighty Dan Swanö who’s responsible for mastering on ‘The Shadowed Road’. I firmly believe that appropriate production to a large extent affects the output’s effectiveness, and here we have the example of an album that benefits from both magnificent sound and perfect execution.
Sojourner’s sophomore incorporates folk elements that are introduced by the band’s only female member, Chloe Bray. Her tin whistle gloriously resounds here and there in-between the tracks’ heavy moments summoning rustic and idyllic vibes. Its prominent moments are marked in ‘Titan’, ‘An Oath Sworn in Sorrow’, and ‘Where the Hope Lies’. It’s certainly a nice addition to the album’s dense aura, and given the instrument’s rather low popularity within the boundaries of underground music, it’s extremely interesting to experience its presence somewhere amongst the wall of sound. Album’s lyrics embrace themes rather typical of atmospheric black metal, that is nature and its mesmerizing beauty and heritage. Still, they are picturesque and evocative, reading them is an additional experience that accompanies the sonic journey.
In the end, despite the band’s diverse cultures of origin, they constitute a congruous entity that is capable of creating expressive and enticing music. Sojourner’s second full-length stands as a conscientious work of atmospheric black metal that is reminiscent of such hordes as Winterfylleth, Caladan Brood, Saor, or Wolves in the Throne Room. I highly recommend this work to everyone who’s interested in this subgenre of metal, satisfaction guaranteed. ‘The Shadowed Road’ is a solid release whose only con is its uniformity; the album most often fails to expose diversity between the relatively lengthy tracks. However, it’s an album that with ease meets all expectations granted upon it. Don’t waste a second thinking whether it’s worth the effort, just give it a spin and you’ll be fully content!
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