Hailing Adamanter as the "best newcomer from Italy since Rhapsody" — as the press sheet for this debut album from Greece's Black Lotus Records boasts — may be a bit premature. But The Shadow Mirror definitely holds promise.
Leaving behind some of the Helloween and Edguy influences from the band's 2001 demo, Age of Decadence, Adamanter now seeks a higher level of sophistication. Witness the five-part opening track, "Minstrel of Pain," which showcases Adamanter's many strengths over the course of 12 minutes with heavy keys, heavy riffs and heavy melodies and an above-average singer in Mario Mosca, who knows his range and stays within his boundaries. The dark and foreboding final passage, "Darkness to the End," offers dramatic group vocals over a lone piano that's among the album's most memorable songs.
The six remaining shorter songs expound on the opening track's various musical strengths, with "A Leaf in the Whirl" and "Elisewin" representing the band's faster side, while "Bloodstorm" and "Dancing Through the Clouds" serve as the highly melodic mid-tempo rockers. Meanwhile, "Father" highlights the band's rich keyboard textures in tandem with its rapid-fire riffs. Technical guitar playing, ethereal lyrics and rousing melodies combine to make Adamanter's The Shadow Mirror an impressive debut well worth seeking out.