This second album from Hamburg-based power metallers Shadowbane is one which almost did not see the light of day, as – in common with a number of other projects – it was undergoing its mastering process, at the hands of Dirk Schlächter when the Gamma Ray bassist’s Hammer Studios spectacularly burned down in November 2013, causing another delay in the production of an album that ultimately has taken its protagonists almost five years to bring into the light…
Shadowbane describe their particular style of power metal as “post-apocalyptic” – and, certainly, ‘Facing The Fallout’ is a lot darker than one would expect from a Teutonic purveyor of the genre, both in its overall musical feel and its dystopian lyrical approach. Of course, al the traditional power metal elements are present – pounding rhythms, crunching bass lines, huge soaring guitar harmonics and sweeping vocal melodies, combined with powerful, impressive riffs and a stunning production: but, the pervading sense of elegiac darkness which underpins the riffs in particular adds another dimension and one which could help this particular quintet stand out from the slew of Gamma Ray/Helloween copycat acts which the German scene (and that in the rest of Europe) seems content to churn out ad infinitum.
If anything, in fact, Shadowbane’s sound lies closer to that of North American proponents such as Iced Earth, particularly in its use of a heavily bottom-ended sound and short, stabbing solo elements, while also incorporating elements of NWOBHM and thrash (both of which combine particularly effectively on the superb ‘Tear Down The Wall’). Vocalist Stefan’s deeper register – closer to a bassier Udo Dirkschneider than, say, a Kai Hansen – suits the density of the material perfectly, and Schlächter’s spot-on production helps accentuate and draw out the constituent elements of the individual performances to the consummate benefit of the collective collaborative sound.
Red Alert / Beyond the Winds Of War / Traitor / Under Bleeding Skies / After The Fallout / Dystopia / Tear Down The Wall / Badlands Law / Last Division / Source Of Grief
Recommended listening: Under Bleeding Skies.
‘Facing The Fallout’ is released on January 16 via Pure Steel Records.
Read our interview with Shadowbane bassist Moritz at http://planetmosh.com/shadowbane-interview-december-2014/.