Review Summary: What a perfect night to have a curse.
Unless Cliff Richard's jugular was bitten by Lestat the Vampire in 1960 and both him and his Shadows somehow mutated into a blood leeching heavy metal band from Chile, consider these two Shadows as very different entities. The ones dressed in Halloween costumes are indeed not the 60s'doo wop phenomenon’s in any shape or form, but the new project of (ehem!) John Shades, from Chilean cult thrashers Apostasy.
Now that we have got that out of the way, Out For Blood
is their first full length after a 2021 demo that opened them the gates to one of the most mysteriously consistent and always fascinating record labels in extreme music: Sentient Ruin Laboratories. The fact that a label well known for releasing material usually related to avant-garde black and death metal of the most obtuse category is releasing the debut of an early 80s metal worship band from Chile was reason enough for me to wake me up from my coffin as soon as the sun was set and the moon was high. What can I say, I'm a sentimental...
Shadows do a few things right and a few things wrong in this Out For Blood
, with the rights out-balancing the wrongs by a long shot for me, but it took a while to see that actually happening. Mr. Shades’ vocals take some time to get used to, and some parts of his performance on the record still leave a lot to be desired, especially on the fifth track "Into The Nightmare". That track aside, the man is capable to sound like ten singers in one. From Ghost's Tobias Forge in "Sacrifice" to Megadeth's Dave Mustaine in the first verse of "Maniac", and even coming close to King Diamond in closer "Alissa" (we all know what you did there, John Shades.)
Out For Blood
, on the other hand, displays Shades' clear ability to write a metal anthem. "Nightstalker", which opens the album, instantly transports the vict... I mean, the listener, to a Transylvanian rainy night at the gates of Dracula's castle. It’s the kind of song that could be a perfect fit for a Stranger Things episode featuring Eddie Munson's return as a living corpse (JUST SAYING, NETFLIX!). The riffs in "Maniac" or "The Ripper" will take you back to Ozzy Osbourne's early tenure with the irreplaceable Randy Rhodes, while "Alissa" will, to no one's surprise, remind you of Mercyful Fate for obvious reasons.
Comparisons be damned, I must admit that Shadows somehow manage to create their own spell through and through. They shine in the most violent tracks like "Forgotten Rites", where Shades sings like there's a demon about to come out ripping through his chest, and it's undeniable that they know how to embellish their metal with synths and a few other tricks, not to mention that the three interludes have THAT
It'll be interesting to see where this band is going in the future, provided this is not just a one off to honor the Old Gods, and that Shades is able to keep the blood juice coming. For fans of nocturnal gothic metal, I'd say this release is a must-bend-the-neck. The cover is one of the best I've seen this year (it would have been an insta-buy in the old no-internet days of buying things because of the cover), the band is dressed properly for the occasion and the album has enough chorus hooks as to feed an entire cave of thirsty bats, so buy now and be immortal tomorrow. I, for now, will go back to my coffin, it's been a long night.