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Blacklands: Peaceful Shores

Blacklands is a German outfit that formed in 2006 and released their debut A New Dawn in 2013. Their sophomore effort Peaceful Shores was released a few months back. In the band are Tanja Magolei-Schüpper (vocals), Michael Stockschläger (guitar, backing vocals), Manfred Reinecke (piano, keyboards), Oliver Müller (bass, backing vocals) and Thomas Kelleners (drums).

Blacklands has been a really nice find and sounds very good to my ears. The songs are tuneful and melodic featuring excellent female lead vocals. Schüpper's voice is just easy to listen to and the fact she stays away from the operatic end of the spectrum is actually quite refreshing. I should mention she replaced original singer Moja Nardelli rather late in the game as the band had already recorded Nardelli's vocals. As far as the music is concerned, proggy melodic rock might be the best way to describe it. The first track "Still Bleeding" is an excellent tune blending subtle electronic elements, heavy riffs and ambient-like interludes (the beginning and end). Some harsher male vocals compliment the female lead although I could have done without the short rapping segment that really does nothing for me. Next up is "Alone Again", a fine melodic rocker with moody background keyboards and a catchy vocal arrangement. "The River" is more melodic rock than prog but it's still a very good track as is the heavier "Drown In Darkness" where soaring guitar and crunchy riffs are highlights. "Distant Warning" is more symphonic while "Grand Circles" burns up the soundscape with soaring guitar and organ. The last track "Winter Skies" is the album epic at over sixteen minutes. Big riffs, moody keyboard soundscapes and harsher male growls contrasting nicely with Schüpper's clean voice is what you will find.

Melodic rock fans should be very pleased with Peaceful Shores. It is not overtly proggy but really that's beside the point. The music is very good and at the end of the day isn't that what it's all about?

Track Listing:
1. Still Bleeding (7:38)
2. Alone Again (5:41)
3. The River (5:48)
4. Drown In Darkness (7:46)
5. Ballad Of A Burning Witch (5:25)
6. Distant Warning (6:36)
7. Grand Circles (9:03)
8. Peaceful Shores (3:40)
9. T.I.M.E. (5:45)
10. Like Tears In Your Eyes (4:10)
11. Winter Skies (16:21)

Added: October 21st 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Facebook Page
Hits: 1564
Language: english

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