Ozark Shaman- Illusionary Plains
I have been waiting for Ozark Shaman to record and release their full length for almost a year. I came across their song “Cursed with Consciousness” on youtube and just loved the sound of the band. The funny thing is that song only appears as a bonus track on Illusionary Plains, but either way I’m glad its on there and I’m glad this album is finally here.
Ozark Shaman are a blackened thrash metal band from Little Rock, Arkansas. Illusionary Plains starts out with the chugging riffs of “Twisted Seasons” which is a great start right out of the gates. It features raspy raw vocals as well as some surprising cleans that really make the track multi-textured. The next bit is “Strings of Fate” which offers a more melodic start with an almost Iron Maiden sounding intro. The melodies continue into the next track “Realigning with the Soul’s Sacred Path.” The listener is then taken back to the thrashier riffs from the beginning of the album with “Dichotomy” and “Call Of the Light”. The song “Mountain’s View” is probably my favorite track on the album and definitely my favorite lyrically. The lyrics to this release are something that should not be overlooked as well. I particularly like the section:
“For so long I have reached
for that which I cannot grasp
for dear life
As I get closer to the top
I feel myself slip and fall”
This track has open spaces between the vocal parts that just groove and reflect the nature theme of the song, it really resonates with me. The albums last three songs are a bit epic in feel just because of the atmosphere they create. They are dark but also triumphant sounding in places. These include “Mountain’s Views”, “Wanderer of the Skies”, and the long epic closer “Orchestrators of Life.” The second to last one once again brings back some carefully placed clean vocals as well as some impressive lead guitar work which is present elsewhere in the album as well. The closer though is perfect because who doesn’t like the last song to be the longest song on the album? This track is similar to “Mountain’s View” in the sense that the band moves really well without the vocals with excellent melodic parts and lead guitar work. The song then closes out with some really tight groove between the band and the sound of chimes just absolutely amazing. If you stick around there is a bonus track which is like I said above the first song I ever heard by this band and is very good in it’s own right as well. It is after all what got me here to this album in the first place.
Ozark Shaman have created something incredible with Illusionary Plains. It is an album that features top notch riffs, melodies, and atmosphere. The lead guitar and lyrical work should also be mentioned because they are very well done and work perfectly for the vibe of the album. The black metal parts are paired excellently with the thrash metal parts. This band is a reminder of why the metal scene in Arkansas should not be overlooked.
I recommend this band to fans of Skeletonwitch, Goatwhore, and Wolvhammer.