Genre: Epic Metal Melodic Black Metal
Label: Discord Records Stygian Crypt Productions
Shambless is a quite unknown, yet quite old band from Bulgaria. It’s basically the personal project of Arvelss Elfaros, who composes everything and plays almost all instruments, except for the guitars. The band begun back in 1997, with a very different sound from its current style. The first album “Omnipotentia” in 2003 was atmospheric medieval death doom metal, released by Discord Records. After that the band changed a lot, following a more “elfish” style. Elfaros claims he is an elf himself and all his songs are sung in an elfish language called “Tura Leagan”. The second album “Apkas Itulia” in 2004 is very different from the debut. The band now plays epic fantasy folk metal with some black metal elements, mainly in the vocals. I definitely prefer the second work and luckily enough the new work is again at this style.
So, seven years after their previous work, Shambless are back with a really nice and melodic album. “Menra Eneidalen” is a keyboard based release, with seven epic long compositions, lasting for over than 64 minutes. Besides the symphonic synths, guitars have also a very melodic role in their music. Most of the time the band plays at slow and mid tempos, while the extreme metal outbursts aren’t that often anymore, but they are always welcome. There are many clean male vocals this time that at first sounded somehow “weird” at my ears; later on, I loved them, even if they need a lot of improvement! Except for the orchestral nature of the synths, they are also used as samples of folk instruments, something that enriches even more their music. I think the structures of the songs are somehow abstract and the whole album is like one big song. I find their music quite unique and it doesn’t remind me directly of anything else. But this style with so many synth samples and almost no real instruments at all, has some weaknesses too. So, even if there are some brilliant moments and melodies in it, I find it better as background music when you are reading or writing something, or even better if you are role-playing! Maybe it’s intended to be this way, but I believe with a more solid production, some natural instruments and improved vocals, Shambless could be much better. Their lyrics are in this Elfish language again, something that helps the band to create its fantasy atmosphere. I think this time the album has a more dark and melancholic mood, sounding a bit less folky than “Apkas Itulia”.
Overall I find “Menra Eneidalen” a very enjoyable album that fans of fantasy epic metal should check. Maybe Summoning is the closest reference and a certain influence to their music, but then again Shambless sound very different. The album was initially released by the underground Bulgarian metal label Discord Records, with a very beautiful cover artwork. On 2012 it was re-released by Stygian Crypt Productions. You can listen to the whole album in their myspace page.
Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos