Release DetailsLABEL N/A
RELEASED ON 4/1/2005
posted on 9/2005 By:
Reviewing demos from unsigned bands is often a ponderous task, but since I go into the experience free from expectation (or with lowered expectation, anyway), every once in awhile a demo will offer a pleasant surprise. That’s the case with Raleigh, North Carolina’s ShadowRealm. The band name and cover art generated not a spark of interest in me, although I like the album title well enough. But with Demonocracy, ShadowRealm displays the kind of spirited prowess that makes bands like them the darlings of just about any local metal scene across the nation. They won’t be taking the world by storm in the near future, but they ARE on the right track, and experience should further develop their craftsmanship.
Demonocracy definitely sounds like a demo, but the muffled production is by no means unlistenable. The vocals actually sound pretty good, which is important for ShadowRealm’s style. The EP opens with the title track, a power metal number (the gutsy, cheese-free variety) with some thrash bite. The song benefits from some crunchy riff work, including an outro passage that has a pronounced Iced Earth flavor. The band then mutates with “Had Enough”, which alternates between midtempo stomp and, vaguely punk inspired speedy riffing. From there ShadowRealm looks backwards, with “Darkness” showing some Iron Maiden tendencies and King Diamond–like vocals. Vocals are often one of the most challenging elements for young bands, but Alexander Kolovos’ work is a strength of ShadowRealm. Most of the lyrics are sung cleanly, but he delivers them as a vocalist, not a singer, and his voice has a nice mixture of grit and melody. Demonocracy loses a little momentum over the final two tracks, including a brief foray into death metal (“Useless Existence”) and a sometimes sluggish ballad (“Slave”). Both songs are passable, just not quite as good as the first three.
Demonocracy shows that ShadowRealm have some strengths on which to build. Their songs are well developed and show a good deal of range, and the musicianship is reasonably strong. More time and practice, along with better recording, will serve these guys well.
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