“One by one, our old friends are gone…” Those words spoken by Johnny Ola In The Godfather Part II ring true all too often these last few years. We have said goodbye to many of our heroes and idols, and each time it hurts really bad. I thought that since it’s been just over a year that we lost one of those Heavy Metal Heroes that we’d spend some time with Shadow Work, the second and final solo record from singer Warrel Dane, who unfortunately passed away on December 13, 2017. I was a huge SANCTUARY fan after hearing their 1988 debut Refuge Denied, but the follow-up Into the Mirror Black never quite resonated with me. And truth be told NEVERMORE was always kind of hit or miss where I was concerned.
But none of that matters, really. What DOES matter is that Warrel gave us one last bit of music before he died. This will not be your traditional A&GS album review, where I go track by track, no. Not today. Let’s just celebrate the fact that we have this record to listen to, okay? Cool. Right from jump it’s hard not to get caught up in “Madame Satan” or “As Fast As the Others,” the album’s best track, both of which contain some fiery guitars to go along with Warrel’s commanding voice. Elsewhere you’ll find the title track knocking your fucking teeth out while it steps over you Allen Iverson 2001 NBA Finals-style. By the way closer “Mother Is the Word for God” is epic not only in song structure, but also time-wise, clocking in at a robust 9:32
“Rain” is a thing of absolute beauty, and is a favorite along with “As Fast.” I can still remember being at work and scrolling through my timeline only to find out that we had lost Warrel Dane. To say I was in complete shock would be an understatement. I immediately cued up Spotify and blared Refuge Denied at full volume because, how could I not? I’m not gonna sit here and act like I was some die-hard devotee for 30 years because I won’t lie like that, or dishonor someone’s memory. What I will do is say the following: it really sucks that Warrel Dane is dead. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in 2014 and he was such a great guy. So let’s all enjoy Shadow Work as a shining testament to his legacy, and hope he is at peace.
R.I.P. Warrel Dane (7 March 1961 – 13 December 2017)