It's not that every metal band needs a gimmick, but having something that sets you apart from the pack is handy. With Germany's Shadowbane, it's penning post-apocalyptic heavy metal tunes. The future is a dystopian nightmare inside the grooves of their debut album Facing The Fallout.
The ten song album includes three songs from their 2010 EP Dystopia with seven new tunes. Shadowbane basically takes an Eighties old school power metal approach, probably drifting to the American side with elements of thrash and speed metal. The riffs are thick and sharp, largely the most significant element to the songs. These are followed by the generally rumbling and galloping rhythm section. The pot is stirred with rabid and roaring guitar leads throughout which metalhead lovers of the same will simply adore. The vocals compliment the mood with a raw, but controlled sound staying away from the screamo end. Unfortunately, like many albums of late that I've heard, the vocals have a rocky road rising above the riffage. Bumping up the volume does help some.
Now, with all those complimentary descriptions, you're probably wondering, what's the down side here? Nothing potentially damaging, really, except maybe the simple fact that the riffs, though varied in structure, sound the same throughout, and there's little variation in tempo across the album. The latter half of Beyond The Winds of War has a moderate dial down in speed, but it's mostly pedal to the metal speed. Yet, Shadowbane makes it all sound, well, pretty cool, like a blast from the past, in the very best sense, of old school 'true' metal for the modern era. And that's something that's always welcome. Recommended. Top picks: Beyond The Winds of War, Tear Down The Wall, Last Division, and Under Bleeding Skies.
Shadowbane's Facing The Fallout is a blast from the past, in the very best sense, of old school 'true' metal mixing power, speed and a bit of thrash metal, for the modern era. And that's something that's always welcome. Recommended.
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