Shadowside – Theatre of Shadows – 4/5
And so it was brought to my attention that the couple of times in past parts of this monolithic special, where this band was referenced that most people have no idea who they are! A combination of heavy and power metal, they would be nothing spectacular if not for the presence of the vocalist, Dani Nolden, in this line-up. Capable of a hefty rasped aggression as well as a cleaner style, the emotion that oozes out when she sings is truly something of note.
The drumming is loud and bombastic, if rather simplistic, creating a framework with ease for the guitars to perform. Like the crack of a whip they supply pounding riff after riff, capable of enough variation throughout the song, as well as between tracks to sustain a considerable level of interest. Unfortunately, the lack of memorable solo’s really felt problematic, as this is a genre that feels unfinished without them. Whilst there are times where they provide something spectacular (e.g. Vampire Hunter, Tonight) all too often they feel undervalued. Fortunately, this is a relatively minor gripe, especially considering that the rhythm presented often surpasses expectations.
But now onto the crux of this review, without trying to sound derogatory to the rest of the band, without the unique vocal work here this is likely an artist I wouldn’t have noticed. The energy she lends to the end result is phenomenal, capable of combining a hardcore-esque rasp with falsetto vocals allows for the best of both sides. Impeccable power and melody, emotion as well as aggression, from the gut wrenching fury of ‘Highlight,’ to the gentle heartfelt ‘Queen of the Sky,’ she never misses a note. The only limitations to her prowess emerge towards the end of the album. The phaser like effect on ‘Red Storm’ and the decision to try to sing at a pitch too low for her to do effectively, for example are rather puzzling, as it not only detracts from the end result, but was completely unnecessary.
There is a reason this album gets mentioned, because it’s unique, diverse and not quite anyone else I can think of still making music. The energy found here is phenomenal, raw and easily overcomes any shortcomings on their ability to create. This is an album that should become a frequent visit to any old school metal fan.
Highlights: Vampire Hunter, We Want a Miracle, Queen of the Sky