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Terminus Ante Quem
(Osmose Productions)

The Polish Death Metal scene has disappointed me a great deal these last years. Once a passion of mine, in a time when all the bands emerging from Poland had something of interest to offer, it evolved into a pro-tools oriented productions, to the point the vast majority of Polish bands sound now very plastic. Fortunately, a handful of acts remain to hold high the flag of Eastern extreme music. SHADOWS LAND belong to them. "Terminus Ante Quem" continues what the band experimented on their first full-length, a sort of twisted and futuristic Death Metal, highly original and thus still difficult to describe. Usually I dislike the use of electronica in Death Metal music, more than often it leads to an immediately dated sound, the avant-garde factor becoming stale very fast. SHADOWS LAND don't fall into this trap. They are first and foremost a Death Metal band with extra ideas enough to come up with very refreshing music. "Terminus Ante Quem" presents hints of NOCTURNUS ("Threshold" era), later days GORGUTS ("Obscura"), and some VOIVOD vibes, this making for the "futuristic" angle of their music. Some electronic effects are used here, but with aplomb because they are harmoniously fused with the actual music. The overall atmosphere is sinister and dark (like in the December WOLVES "Blasterpiece Theatre" album), the music brutal with a lot of shock value. The rhythms sound militaristic with lot of repetitive structures. But in the end "Terminus Ante Quem" is a very lively album, because the synthetic elements don't corrupt the organic sound of the instruments. To sum up my idea: SHADOWS LAND play human music, not a robotized one. There is even a House track on this, believe it or not it works perfectly (I precise here that I actually hate House and Techno muzak!) because the Metal riffs compliment the rhythmic pattern in an ideal manner. SHADOWS LAND play a very accessible form of experimental music, done with taste. This album I already listened to five times before writing this, and I didn't experience even the lesser sign of boredom in doing so. A superb record by a superb band. I consider this essential without any restraint (except maybe for the cover artwork, really lame!). You have to give this a try! for more info.

Edouard Vergriete

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