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The times of releasing “My Shadow…” were one of the most important in my personal metal history. The post black metal wave from Scandinavia started slowly to fade away… although it was then – in 1996 – when it delivered some historic albums from such bands like EMPEROR, IMMORTAL, ENSLAVED, HADES, GEHENNA, LIMBONIC ART or SATYRICON - albums I've loved. They've been at the pick of their creativity and from then on this genre started to go down slowly and slowly, often into commercialism and self parody… Death metal from the other hand at that time unfortunately didn’t have much to offer. Occasional quality eruptions from the likes of CANNIBAL CORPSE, MORBID ANGEL, VADER, SINISTER, DISMEMBER or MONSTROSITY didn’t help seeing the genre dying. Where were the old cults like MORGOTH, UNLEASHED, GRAVE, GOREFEST, ENTOMBED, etc then? Most of them has either split up or changed their musical direction or delivered a shade of what used to be their best. Only few years later some bands like NILE and KRISIUN putted it back into the throne.
But let’s look at the Swedish scene of mid to late 90's. It – from the other hand – started to spawn dozens of new bands, which had a new thing in common – melody. AT THE GATES, IN FLAMES, DARK TRANQUILITY – from one side, and DISSECTION, CENTINEX and NECROPHOBIC on the other. Jon Nodtveidt’s band had an enormous influence on creating a new genre of satanic black / death metal. The followers appeared. I remember I was moaning on most of them at that time (and DECAMERON was one of the most unliked by me) and all because there were too many alike bands and I sometimes couldn't differ one from another. As for DECAMERON I just didn’t like their music so much then and together with ABLAZE MY SORROW they simply were one of the worst bands around in Sweden at that time - at least according to my opinion in 1996.
Weird things happen, time goes forward and years later “My Shadow…” gets another chance and is much more welcome listen. Sure, it’s not as furious and aggressive, not as devastating as an album from SACRAMENTUM, A CANOROUS QUINTET, CENTINEX and VINTERLAND, but it does have its own charm and character - I ahve to admit that now. Blending mentioned DISSECTION-esque melodic death / black metal with a surprisingly often present IRON MAIDEN-ism we get an album standing above many others. DECAMERON is close in finding a perfect balance between all these styles and their own original sound. Sure, some songs, like the awesome “Our Time Has Come” and “Satanized” (which was written in cooperation with Jon from DISSECTION) stand above the others as more aggressive and straight forward with almost thrashing chorus and riffage while “Le Roi Triste” is more melodic based, with some classic heavy metal instrumental passages and guitar soloing. But still also this song has found a room for some arse kicking fast playing.
Another standout song, “The Scar of Damnation”, is just great. It’s opening minute long riffage is excellent, having both thrashing riffs as well as some truly catchy melodic ones, then followed by quite melancholic parts. Finally its ending brings wonderful melodies and riffs and… some clean vocals, which give something extra really. It must be remembered that DECAMERON composes quite lengthy tracks; most of them are above the average 5-6 minutes, so they have plenty of time to show the amount of ideas they want. And that’s why the entire album, every song actually is so varied and exciting. “Sexual Immortality” brings some more angry and aggressive riffs, so does “Skabma”, which is quite thrash metal oriented, but still with black metal feeling, great vocals and almost epic feeling in some places. Again there are many rhythm changes, many riffs, harmonies, lots of things are happening within one track.
“My Shadow…” have some lower quality spoken vocals, which honestly I would erase if I had a chance. Basically it’s the least interesting song, with some irritating fragments like lenghty solos and real awful clean vocals. Unfortunately “Prophecy of Life to Come” doesn’t bring the highest quality back to the music as it also has some shitty clean vocals – luckily they're present only for few seconds – while the riffs aren’t as strong as those in the previous tracks. Finally the last song, “Mistress of Sacrifice” turns out to be quite shitty heavy metal track, whose clean vocals again don’t give the best impression and the overall melancholic feeling and ballad-esque beginning are just horrible. Yeah, this is the worst track on the album…
Uff, I have to say that "My Shadow" material is very uneven - it's an album, which I have to divide into two parts – first one gathers great songs and riffing, with some truly memorable anthems such as “Satanized” and “Scar of Damnation”, while the second half has lower quality riffs and unnecessary weak clean vocals and simply looses the feeling and aggression. Still though I consider DECAMERON as a good band, which had some potential, but unfortunately ceased to exist after this one album for some reasons.