Hemisphere of Shadows

Although Danava has been dubbed everything from prog to psych-metal to even doom, the Portland four-piece is simply a rock band. It may sound boring in a music climate where tastemakers and flavors of the month pump out silly labels at a rabbit’s pace, but Hemisphere of Shadows is a thrilling joyride through a smoke-choked room filled with wall-to-wall riffs and dueling dual guitar leads. Simply put, this is rock ’n’ roll. Hemisphere is more primal than 2008’s acrobatic and dense UnonoU, ready-made for the stage where the band plays at deafening levels. Album opener “Shoot Straight With a Crooked Gun” sets the pace with a squiggly dual riff. It’s nothing but relentless fret-board wizardry from there in the spirit of Iommi and Schenker (hear “White Nights of Murder” and the title track) while Danava ringmaster Gregory Meleney’s banshee howl tells tales of good and evil. Hemisphere of Shadows is a 37-minute contact high. And while it’s a big, scary music blogosphere out there, in Danava’s universe, shaggy hair, denim and leather will always rule.