Chicago symphonic metal guardians Shield of Wings have been working on some of the songs appearing on their first LP for a decade. Back in 2011, the project released a debut EP (Solarium). But no follow-up music emerged. Retaining only guitarist James Gregor and drummer Pat Eulitz, fresh blood joined Shield of Wings to make this album a reality. As an album title, Unfinished slyly references the status of their long-awaited LP and the band’s active status in one fell swoop. Decibel Magazine has an exclusive stream for you below, over a decade in the making. Unfinished will officially release Friday, February 11th from Elderpath Records.
Like the cold gusts in the Windy City, there’s an elemental heaviness throughout Unfinished. Lead vocalist Lara Mordian summons winter’s wraith (“Crushing Hail” and “Frozen Harbor”) as well as summer’s swelter (“Sunfire Shower”). Aaliyah Daye supports whimsical melodies with her own range of talents, from backing vocals to keyboard flourishes. Between Daye’s keys and Gregor’s symphonic orchestration, Shield of Wings keep their compositions busy but not crowded. Power metal and folk metal tendencies occasionally surrender to harsh vocals (again by Daye) for some welcome abrasive textures. Fans of Nightwish and Epica‘s epicness will want to live in these songs. Unfinished might even appeal to those who love Morgul Blade‘s sword-toting fantasy metal. There’s a balance of subtlety and go-for-broke theatrics in ballads like “Mind of Myth” and “Come Home.” Those tracks don’t adhere to heavy metal momentum as much as they conjure power from a more internal source of strength and poetry. By the time Mordian’s last note is flung to the sky in “The Scarred Clay Reshaping,” Unfinished confidently closes this long chapter of the band’s story.
Shield of Wings offered this statement regarding the album: “Unfinished is an album that displays a wide range of emotion and sonic exploration, drawing from the last decade of my life, and (hopefully) some growth experienced in that time. Though I would generally characterize it as Symphonic Metal, I have been told others can hear influences of death, folk, power and even black metal. The word “epic” seems overused these days, but it is the one I keep hearing people use to describe our sound. So, I hope this record takes you on an “epic” and authentic journey, through despair, finding encouragement, and ending in hope.”
Unfinished business awaits. Press play below and summon the protection of Shield of Wings.