Company: Darkhaven Records Release: 2006 Genre: Traditional Reviewer: Raising Iron
For fans of good ole' heavy metal with a bit of thrash
"One and done"; such is the case for Seattle's five-piece Shadow Demon, who, after member departures post-debut, Grimoire of Ruin from 2006, dwindled to a three-piece shortly before calling it a day. It's too bad too, as the band recorded an exceptional effort of modern day traditional/power metal that harbored an intuitive pulse of all things time-honored in the world of heavy metal.
Shadow Demon pursue a form of metal that, while very traditional in structure, inject a bit of thrash into the guitars; and vocalist Blaine Hammond possesses a deep, rich, and slightly gravelly tone, adding to the bracing assault of the riffs. Grimoire of Ruin rests in opaque heaviosity, never varying too much from the scheme employed; hence bland affectations begin to creep to the surface after just a few songs, despite being well-executed. Opening the album with a lengthy epic at nearly nine minutes is always a bit risky, but the guys pull it off with much aplomb; the remaining eight songs clocking in at six minutes or less. Although a same-ness exists amongst the songs, a couple of canticles stand out above the dim din; first, "The Dark Citadel: Part 1 (The Shifter)" opens with its infectious melody before progressing into hellified thrash riffs that brand themselves deep into your senses; and second, "Sea of Oblivion", a low-slung, rugged, and surging stride sure to have your synopses firing.
Having recorded, produced, and mixed the disc themselves, the band show off a wealth of talent, but oft-times that's not enough to keep a group adhesive, and the usual disputes of musical direction cropped the project before it really even took root. So, for fans of good ole' heavy metal with a bit of thrash thrown in, snag this release if you can find it, as at the very least it'll round out your collection a bit.
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