They may be flying under the mainstream music industry radar, but Shadowkiller is proof that classic American heavy metal is still viable, even if mostly unknown in America. The California quartet arrives with their second album Until The War Is Won. Not surprisingly, the band has been signed to and the album is getting distributed by Germany's Pure Steel Records. The Europeans still have an appreciation for traditional heavy metal.
Cutting to the chase, at the foundation of Shadowkiller's sound is traditional heavy metal, the American side of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Toss in some speed and gallop, and Shadowkiller ventures into classic power metal. These suggest certain elements, all present in their sound. Twin guitar harmony, something natural to the genre. I would even suggest that this album is a very guitar-forward, from the abundance of riffs to the powerful sizzling leads. Also, the tight rhythm section that doesn't merely keep the beat, but keeps things charging along.
A swift tempo comes in many songs like Flames of War, Generation Strong, and A Price For Freedom, but it's not always the case. It's more likely for Shadowkiller to mix things up, with speed sharing space with moderation. Certainly this comes with Staring Into Oblivion, notably at the start, yet also in the latter third where the song dials back as the guitar solo rises. Alternatively, the title track stays a steady course, any easy beat and rhythm. Yet can't help feeling, as the song progresses, that something underneath wants to break out. And so it does, following the beginning of the first solo about midpoint. Things quicken ever so slightly, driven by the drums Finally, another important element of Shadowkiller's metal is basic melody, you know, the one thing that defines music. Amidst all the riffs, thumping bass, and rumbling drums, melody, with harmony, carries every song.
A few comments by way of conclusion. The album art and song titles seem to suggest a theme to Until The War Is Won, one relating to war and more specifically World War 2. Just some speculation. Also, the production is very clean and bright. I'm not talking some Nashville auto-tuned pop sound. Rather something very basic, stripped down, but not sounding raw or recorded in a hollow garage. Bottom line: Shadowkiller's Until The War Is Won is well-crafted and well-played American melodic power metal with entertaining and satisfying results. Easily recommended to all metal heads, especially those fans of the genre.
Shadowkiller's Until The War Is Won is well-crafted and well-played American melodic power metal with entertaining and satisfying results. Easily recommended to all metal heads, especially those fans of the genre.
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