SHADOW DEMON - GRIMOIRE OF RUIN - DARKHAVEN
Relatively unknown, American band Shadow Demon is a young band out of Washington. The band’s Grimoire Of Ruin album not only boasts a ”˜black metal’ sounding name, but also features some cool and dark artwork on the front and back. Then there is the band’s name.
Having said all of that, Shadow Demon is neither death nor black metal. The quintet specializes in pure heavy metal with the closest comparison being Iced Earth. With horror themes dominating - indeed the band is named after a comic book character - the mixture of Matt Barlow-like vocals, clean and distorted guitars and variable speeds all aim at the Iced Earth fandom, which given the latter band’s recent misses, might just be vulnerable and available for the taking. A song like Sea Of Oblivion shows some extra speed, while The Dark Citadel comes across as having an epic feel. Then again, ”¦And The Meek begins with a cool Anthrax-esque riff that could be from the ”˜80s.
Where Shadow Demon falls short, however, is the nature of the songs’ components. Simply put, they drag on longer than they should. The band’s riffing and structure idle away too long. These six-minute long tracks should have been only three or four minutes long. Furthermore, the voice of singer Blaine Hammond packs too much harmony. The times when he switches from Matt Barlow to James Hetfield do not help either. Finally, and since this is partly the production’s fault it might be a correctible issue, the drumming is dull and uninventive. Release the kit from the ho-hum and add power to the songs - instantly! Shadow Demon is not going to displace Iced Earth with this album, yet provided corrections are made has the necessary potential. - Ali “The Metallian”