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Not particularly shadowy, really - 81%

Noktorn, September 29th, 2007

Equal parts Jag Panzer and mid to late era Blind Guardian is a pretty good idea, and Shadow Demon pulls off just that sort of combination very well on 'Grimoire Of Ruin'. Shadow Demon is another entry into a newer set of power metal bands who are attempting to combine the aggression of USPM with some of the melodies of Euro-style power. This band, alongside Nicta, is one of the best I've heard in the style, and I can honestly say that this is the sort of power metal I would be willing to listen to in my spare time.

The vocal melodies are a huge part of the music here, and are generally pretty similar to Hansi K├╝rsch in delivery. The music, though, is much darker and more intense than Blind Guardian ever was or is now, and has a bit more of an Iced Earth or similar artist flavor in general. The melodies are less sweet and more grandiose; it's not power metal for Dragonforce freaks. It's bombastic and epic, but in a speedy, warlike style, with lots of thrashy riffing and intense drumming. The riffs are nice and complex, and not the three power chord tremolo that so many power metal bands are using these days. There really does seem to be a lot of Iced Earth influence here, although I like Shadow Demon much more than I ever liked that other artist. The music has a sort of propulsiveness that I enjoy greatly, but it's not as overblown and melodramatic as other power metal artists.

The production is great: very clear and full, and maintains the integrity of the instruments well. The best track by far is '...And The Meek', which has easily some of the best vocal lines I've ever heard in a power metal track, and fantastically thundering drumming as well. There's not really a weak track on here: the worst stuff is above average, and the best is some of the greatest power metal out there today. I generally prefer the first half of the album to the second: most of the songs are pretty similar, so the longer it goes on, the more things get rehashed, but those ideas are very good nonetheless and would please any dedicated power metal fan. It's nice to see a band that's epic without being even slightly cheesy, particularly in power metal, and Shadow Demon really pulls that off well.

Really, if you like the US style of power metal but want a bit more grandiosity, this is definitely something you want to pick up soon. 'Grimoire Of Ruin' isn't a 'promising' debut: it actually fulfills those promises and makes more for the future. I like it a lot.