Review Summary: Melodic death metal inspired from early works of In Flames and Dark Tranquility.
Melodic death metal, as most may know, is a genre that has rehashed its characteristics time and time again. With this being said it’s important to note that this first release by Shadow adds nothing new to the genre, and yet, it’s still a very enjoyable album due to the fact that their compositions take on a different light of drumming interpretations, and harmonic feels. Shadows first eponymous album, released in 2001, shows them taking a musical path they are without a doubt passionate about. They effortlessly mix melodic vibes akin to In Flames The Jester Race
; yet sometimes more playful and groovy.
The intro track “The Arrival at the Last Quarter” is perfect example of what to expect from these Japanese melodic enthusiasts. The track starts with riffs comparable to In Flames “Episode 666” and matching solo harmony that sounds like no one else. Fortunately the musicianship of guitarists Shinichiro Okada and Yuichi Sumimoto is just as good as Bjorn and Jesper’s of In Flames; so lack of technical ability is never there but lack of creativity is sometimes noticeable as Whoracle
and The Jester Race
were released years before Shadow’s first outing. Obviously the purpose of the opening of the first track was to show ability and technique more than anything else, besides the track being rather enjoyable.
Not every track here is as playful as the opener. For instance “Eden” contains melancholic undertones coupled with extended lead harmonies and even a clean section before a crescendo-like solo. “Beyond the Drizzly Nights”, although cheesy by name, begins with a high-tempo tremolo riff and compatible blast beats that builds into a well fitted tempo change and solo. Although the solos are well fitted they aren’t always necessary and more innovative passage-transitions would do the job more effectively. The drum work of Mitsuhiro Enomoto is quite enjoyable as he uses his black metal techniques from his other band Cataplexy. His use of blast beats and aggressive natures drive the melodic guitar riffs forward, adding a greater punch over early In Flames works.
is in no way an essential album for melodic death metal but it is a handy addition to the catalogue of albums that work closest to some of the more influential/early melo dm acts. Everything here has been done before but there is
more than one way to skin a cat and there is just enough variance here to keep this album from being totally average. To the occasional listener this album may be a real treat but when compared to the genre as a whole it is only slightly above average if anything.