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Shadowside: Shades Of Humanity
Shadowside - Shades Of Humanity CD Album Review

Shadowside: Shades Of Humanity

Modern Heavy Metal
3.0/5.0

While I didn't care much for Shadowside's turn to a more modern metal sound with 2011's Inner Monster Out, the album garnered more than a little international praise. The album hit high on the charts, and led to more shows. The played in 30 countries, opening for headliners such as Iron Maiden and Helloween. Shadowside had hit the big time. Now six years on the band returns with their fourth long player, Shades Of Humanity, which features a new bass player in former Hammerfall bassist Magnus Rossen. Additionally Rossen wrote two songs with guitarist Andy La Rocque of King Diamond for the album. Shades Of Humanity also has some lyrical themes including "deep subjects such as depression, abortion, the Mariana dam disaster in Brazil, and mankind`s moral values."

Shadowside Band Photo

Shadowside

Musically, Shades Of Humanity basically follows the pattern of its predecessor, venturing into more modern heavy metal. Most of that comes from the sometimes harsh and thrashy riffage, the deep d-tuned bottom end, and Dani Nolden's chosen vocal style. She can easily be harshly hardcore, but then she can be calmer or quickly smoothly melodic. If anything call her vocal style versatile, but when she goes screamo or mannish hardcore, I'm quickly and easily turned off.

Nevertheless, with most any Shadowside album I have greater interest in particular songs and their parts or particular individual member performances. For the latter, I dig everything about Raphael Mattos guitar work, specifically his original, creative, and blistering leads across this entire album. Two of the best examples come within Stream Of Shame and Drifter. Which leads us to some of the songs. Those two songs, along with Parade Of Sacrifice, are some of the best here, filled with heaviness, but also melody and groove, and Nolden is a bit more predictable. Another strong track is the final song Alive, a symphonic modern power metal number with Nolden going atmospheric. Conversely, there's some real modern metal harshness with The Fall, Beast Inside, What If, and the crushing Unreality. Excepting the underlying groove and Mattos' fandamntastic guitar solos, I really didn't enjoy any of those songs as a whole. So, in the end, my opinion of Shadowside's Shades Of Humanity, as with previous material, remains the same: intitial curiosity, and then ambivalence, liking only a few songs and dismissing most everything else. However, as a fan, if you liked the last album, you will definitely like this one as well.



CraigHartranft.net - New fiction, crime fiction by Craig Hartranft

The Bottom Line

My opinion of Shadowside's Shades Of Humanity, as with previous material, remains the same: intitial curiosity, and then ambivalence, liking only a few songs and dismissing most everything else. However, as a fan, if you liked the last album, you will definitely like this one as well.

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