posted on 1/2007 By:
Though power metal will never be my favorite metal subgenre, I can certainly recognize how difficult it is to properly execute, and that’s why I give Shadow Divine as much credit as I do. Considering that it comes from a fairly young unit (the band was formed in 2005), this demo is a remarkably tight and fluid example of straightforward, thrashy power metal. It’s not perfect, of course—these guys run headlong into some of the most common problems for power metal bands—but overall this is still quite an impressive effort.
Those looking for name-dropping sound comparisons for these Swedish lads need search no further than Germany’s Rage, whose sound Shadow Divine imitate very closely. The general feel of the material is up-tempo and punchy, though the aggressive tone doesn’t completely exclude traditional power metal pomp. Songs like “Inner Sanctum” and “The Lover’s Waltz” (which, ironically, isn’t actually a waltz) bolster Anders Gustafsson’s chunky axework with nicely understated keyboard accents, which in my opinion is how keyboards always ought to be used in metal. The rhythm section, for their part, are noticeably talented—a rarity for power metal—and skinsman/keyboardist Peter Haga does an especially good job accenting the songwriting, especially on faster songs like “Seven Steps to Hell” and “In Vain”. The only obvious weakness in Shadow Divine’s sound is Gustafsson’s vocal delivery, which manfully attempts to be aggressive but instead comes off as kind of croaky and irritating.
Actually, scratch that “only obvious weakness” part. There’s another major issue with Shadow Divine, and most other power metal bands as well: their sound is almost completely devoid of originality. While this is a masterfully executed demo—even the production is clear and present—I ultimately shied away from analyzing the specific songs because I honestly can’t distinguish them from songs by the hundreds of other thrash/power bands I’ve heard over the years. Shadow Divine are clicking thoroughly on some levels, but if they want to escape anonymity they’re going to have to come up with some kind of distinguishing feature or gimmick to set themselves apart from the pack.
Register to post comments.