A couple of years ago, SHADOWKEEP were apparently hailed within underground circles as one of the most promising English traditional bands on the block, accumulating plaudits and support slots (with DIO and HALFORD) alike. When you bear in mind though that much of this scene stinks like month-old kippers, it doesn't attest too much to the quality of SHADOWKEEP themselves. Members of recent incarnations of old timers ANGEL WITCH and TYGERS OF PAN TANG find themselves on board herein, but even they can't make "A Chaos Theory" get up and go musically.
With the sound desk manned by fellow countryman Carl Groom of THRESHOLD fame (themselves a band who took time to find their feet, it should be noted), "A Chaos Theory" operates amidst a fairly sharp production. But that, with all the generous optimism in the world, is about as good as it gets.
As a whole, the albums pitches itself around about the year 1984: "Seventeen" works on that bleating vocal and mid-paced lumber so common of bands who so desperately wanted to be as notable as QUEENSRŸCHE or CRIMSON GLORY at that time, "Fear and Loathing" contains painfully ordinary double-bass drum action, "Lucifer's Pastime" is the twelfth track on the album, by which time you'll be so numb that you'll neglect to focus on how it actually sounds.
Usually, this variety of metal can stand or fall by the standard of its vocalist, yet as ordinary as the oddly named Rogue M's voice is, his wailing is eclipsed in the dullness stakes by the remainder of his bandmates' flaccid output. And if they were trying to redeem themselves by pulling a musical quirk out of the sack, then allowing Scott Higham to plagiarize MAIDEN's "Where Eagles Dare" drum intro on "Atalanta Fugiens" is not the way to win friends.
On the strength of "A Chaos Theory" they shouldn't have too many of those at the record store either…