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Shadowland: Edge of Night (DVD)

With their first European tour in twelve years, is it any surprise Clive Nolan's Shadowland performed in Katowice, Poland, as he has played extensively at the famed theater that has housed many progressive rock artists through the years. It is nice to see the band back in action after such a long hiatus and their performance is as professional as they come. Joining Nolan is an impressive list of players including Karl Groom ( guitar and backing vocals), Mark Westwood (bass and acoustic guitar), Mike Varty (keyboards and backing vocals) and Nick Harradence (drums).

Recorded in February, 2009, the tracks are taken from all three Shadowland albums so this is a good representation of the band's output. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, Shadowland clearly play in the neo-progressive style and they do it very well. The performances from all members of the band are excellent. Nolan is in fine form vocally as he is able to create many catchy moments throughout and Groom's guitar is front and center playing some scorching solos, not unlike his guitar playing in Threshold. The keyboards of Varty (Landmarq, Credo) are also integral to Shadowland's sound and he provides plenty of fireworks throughout the evening.

Whether it is the classically inspired "The Kruhulick Syndrome" with excellent Roland piano from Nolan or the harder edged progressive rock of "Mephisto Bridge" featuring a darker undertone of moody guitar and keys, this CD has much to offer the prog aficionado. The guitar solo from Groom shows he can play with as much 'feel' as anyone.

The two epic tracks "Hall of Mirrors" and "Jigsaw" are both highlights with the former being a full on bombastic affair with a symphonic build-up that has the band members firing on all cylinders and the latter having a catchy melody, emotional vocals from Nolan and great drumming from Harradence, before ending with Nolan on the piano. This DVD exudes quality from start to finish with fourteen strong tracks of extremely well played neo-progressive rock.

The video and audio quality is superb which is what one can expect from Metal Mind Productions. There is also a limited DVD + 2CD edition available. Extras on my version include concert footage from Holland and an interview with Nolan and Groom. Be aware the Holland concert does not have as vibrant a production as the Kotowice gig.

If you are looking for melodic progressive rock done in the neo tradition you have come to the right place. Edge of Night will make a fine addition to your video collection.


Track Listing:
1. A Matter of Perspective
2. The Hunger
3. The Whistleblower
4. Mephisto Bridge
5. The Kruhulick Syndrome
6. The Waking Hour
7. Painting by Numbers
8. Hall of Mirrors
9. The Edge of Night
10. U.S.I.
11. The Seventh Year
12. Jigsaw
13. Dreams of the Ferryman
14. Ring of Roses
Bonus Features
Shadowland live in Holland, 2009
Interview with Clive Nolan and Karl Groom

Added: October 23rd 2009
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2274
Language: english

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Shadowland: Edge of Night (DVD)
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-11-24 17:40:47
My Score:

It's progressive, it's a DVD and it's released by Metal Mind Productions. Therefore it must be another opportunity to visit the Slaski Theatre in Katowice in Poland and witness a slickly edited, professionally shot and impressively produced set in a venue that lends itself to these occasions. For anyone who has already witnessed any of the other in the growing list of Metal Mind DVD releases (RPWL, Galahad, or Final Conflict, among others), then there will be few surprises in the visuals, with swooping camera angles and countless close ups used throughout the show. Sound wise Karl Groom of Threshold and funnily enough Shadowland has also had a hand in the production or mastering of all these releases and yet again his work and in this case Shadowland's sound is faultless.

Once more the audience are a tad on the quiet side to give the show a huge amount of atmosphere, however Shadowland themselves make up for this by putting in a tremendous display of dextrous musicianship, which contains skill, precision and enough emotion to lift this performance above many a prog gig.

Put together in the early nineties and releasing three albums of neo-prog Shadowland were something of a minor super group with Clive Nolan of Pendragon, Arena, Caamora and Neo and the afore mentioned Karl Groom being the lynchpins. Unlike in those other bands, Nolan takes up the role of out and out front man and considering he is best known for his keyboard work, his voice is surprisingly strong. Groom on the other hand sticks to what he knows best and it's his guitar work along with Mike Varty's (Credo) keyboards that drive the swooping, whirling Shadowland sound. The line up is completed by the excellent Nick Harradence of NW10 on drums and Mark Westwood, also of Caamora and Neo who replaces original bassist Ian Salmon of Arena for this gig.

Nolan isn't the most obvious of front men, his between song banter is a little wordy and long winded and at times he does seem a little lost on a stage that's maybe a little bigger than that he is used to. However vocally his performance is reasonably strong and focused and it has to be said that his voice does work very well within the progressive rock framework.
I have to be honest and say that I always thought of Shadowland as the poor sibling of the other projects that the members are involved in, however with songs as strong as "Ring of Roses", "Painting By Numbers" and "The Kruhulick Syndrome" I may be forced into revisiting the three studio albums the band put out. Style wise Shadowland really tick all the neo prog boxes with stinging guitars, dense keyboards, crashing drums and ranging bass lines. There is little to differentiate Shadowland from numerous other bands in the genre, however their playing is stellar and the whole band have a very watchable stage presence. What is surprising though is that this 2009 tour was the first that Shadowland had played in 13 years and when you take that into account their tightness is nothing short of remarkable.

Well worth a mention are the extras which take in a decent interview with Nolan and Groom and the usual biography and discography. More interesting though is the eight track live in Holland section which replicates the start of the main set on the disc, however even though the show was in a much smaller venue both in terms of audience and stage size I have to say that in many ways it is a more compelling, gritty watch and whilst I can't say that the visuals are as professional or varied as the Katowice performance, I know which show I would rather have attended!

Edge Of Night is a hugely entertaining watch with some excellent music which stands up well to repeated views. If progressive rock is of interest to you, it comes highly recommended.



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