Excepting an EP in 2003 Shadowdance has been basically under the radar for almost 10 year. Now they return with their second album, Future Negative Fantasy, on Rock It Up Records. To be fair, this is not a 'new' album; Future Negative Fantasy was self-released by the band nearly two years ago. So why give it a review? First, their from nearby Philadelphia, and I'm a little biased towards Pennsylvania bands. Second, they've signed to a label, so hopefully they'll get more exposure.
Shadowdance is essentially multi-instrumentalist Carlos Alvarez and vocalist George Eliassen, with help from others to round the recording this album. And I really wanted to like this album. There's some strong metal here; generally, a very intense version of heavy/power metal. Actually, FNF is mostly an overwhelming riff monster, slashing away at your eardrums, pretty much from start to finish. Kind of like Iced Earth on Red Bull and PHP. In between the Spector-ish wall of riffage Alvarez can bring in some progressive nuances.
But the problem is that all the slashing sharp riffage basically beats up everything else, notably Eliassen's vocals. He's barely intelligible throughout, bashed into submission by Alvarez's sledgehammer guitar attack. Even on a more subdued song like One More Taste,e he's held under by the throat. You could blame a lot of this on the mix. But who did the mix? You guessed it. Alvarez. As I moved through this album, I found myself, first, turning it down often. I shouldn't have to blast an album (and destroy my hearing) merely to hear the vocals. Finally, six songs in I simply wanted to turn it off. It's darn shame, really, as I liked many of the compositions and much of Alvarez's slick guitar work. Listen to Future Negative Fantasy with the Bandcamp player. Your opinion may differ.
Future Negative Fantasy is mostly an overwhelming riff monster, slashing away at your eardrums, pretty much from start to finish. Kind of like Iced Earth on Red Bull and PHP.
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