The second Halloween themed album review is here! New York classic heavy metal band Shadowland, and their new album The Necromancer’s Castle are up for judgment!
Let me lead off with, any World of Warcraft fans that immediately started crying, its fine this Shadowland has to be better than the WoW expansion. I mean, it’s a low bar, but its optimism, right? With the Warcraft disclaimer out of the way, let’s learn a little. Shadowland, is a female fronted band straight out of Brooklyn, New York. This is their debut full-length album, and it’s out perfectly in time with the season.
Shadowland is: Tanya Finder on vocals (and she did the artwork too), Al Bulmer on guitars, Cedric on Bass, Dave on Drums, Jeff Saint Filmer on guitars. So a staple 5 piece metal band since we get the dual guitars and the vocalist. Let’s see what classic bands they pull from and what they make their own!
- Artist: Shadowland
- Album: The Necromancer’s Castle (2021)
- Label: No Remorse Records
- Total Track Time: 38:16
Ligeia starts off with an echoed old school horror movie vibe and haunting spoken opening that sets the tone nicely. The song itself kicks in and we get a sound that gives Judas Priest and Budgie vibes to me initially. Tanya’s voice has a great tone, it’s not quite Lita Ford and not quite Ann Wilson; though sounds in that kind of range. It adds a nice element, and the production quality feels very old school. It’s not polished, but can easily remind you of early low budget 80s albums, like the first pressing of Killing is My Business or No Life Til Leather. The Necromancer’s Castle comes in with heavy Bass and Drums that really gives the song more of a darker Black Sabbath kind of vibe. As the rest of the song comes to fruition it feels a little more like Saxon but it’s really interesting. Especially when there’s a whole spoken verse which helps to just really make the whole Necromancer’s Castle feel like it was intended to come across like an old horror movie.
Walking in Shadows does kick off with slightly sharper guitars, but then really takes this underwater/echoed sound that also sounds like its spiraling. Through the verses the rhythm guitar has a tone very reminiscent of In My Darkest Hour by Megadeth. This whole album has been like a horror movie time machine in ways. Everything from the mixing to the instrumentation sounds rooted firmly in the 80s while not sounding like a carbon copy from a certain band in that era. Rising Tide brings out the Iron Maiden influence very obviously. A quick downward scale run, the dueling guitars and even the little bit of the gallop, this has classic Maiden written all over the inspiration. Tanya’s voice does a great job at tying everything together, because even when tones get sharper and tempo picks up, her consistently delivery doesn’t make the song feel out of place, more like just another scene in the horror movie that is the album
Warhound starts off very cool with the dual guitar leads and comes through nicely. By now I think you should understand what most of their music sounds like from the previous descriptions, and this fits nicely in with those. This will probably be the song I throw into the review for everyone to sample on YouTube. Remains is next and boy does it remain in that 80s sound. I immediately had a Karate Kid montage run through my head or this sounds like a cruising song for any badass 80s movie character ever. It slows down a little as it continues, so that solidifies more for the montage, since maybe there was a setback, 80s montages are always great for perseverance. And just like the montage, the solo comes in and leads in to a more uplifting/rising tone. Oh another 80s element, the song starts to fade out while she’s singing the last verse, so there’s never like an official end it just fades out. Which is definitely a cool aspect they can utilize in live shows.
Easy Livin’ the title and even spelling is old school 70s/80s, but I’m fairly sure this is not a cover of the Uriah Heep song. I’m not gonna sit here and act like the expert on Uriah Heep, but the lyrics don’t sound the same to me. It’s still a great cruising song, with a driving and rocking rhythm, so nothing to really complain about. Pretty Faces is the last song on the album, and goes back to the NWOBHM sound as opposed to a little more of the bluesy rock that the last song was. The song returns to some of the earlier elements they were using with the instrumentation, spoken echoed out verses and what could be interpreted as the end of the horror movie. Things end with a movie clip sound byte, what sounds like a lightning crash and that’s all.
So let’s go over what I liked. The album was very easy to listen to, Tanya’s vocals are fantastic and definitely are the glue that holds it all together. The production quality though cool, was also a small detriment. The echo that helps the ambiance, hurt the understanding of the lyrics. Granted, they were more thematic and fantasy, so there wasn’t really a big political message; but I enjoy the wordplay and how the lyrics structure around the song. So the lack of understanding, and not having Google resources since they’re a newer/lesser known band didn’t help.
Easy Livin’ though a cool song, didn’t seem to completely fit the album, and the production being hit or miss for different aspects take some points off for me. It’s still a damn good album. If you like any of the bands I mentioned in comparison, you’ll enjoy Shadowland. Also this is a debut full length album, so, it’s a damn good start.
Final Judgment: 7.25/10
Andrew’s Judgmental Album Reivews: Nickelback – Get Rollin’ (2022)
Many of us have judged them as bottom tier garbage for years! Does the JAR keep this new album in the bin, or is their a light of hope? Nickelback – Get Rollin’ is next up!
As everyone knows, the world has generally passed Judgment on Nickelback as being a steaming pile of garbage. Nickelback is a punchline, the lowest common denominator or the bare bottom measuring stick of tolerance. With that, I figured it would be potentially entertaining to review their most recent album.
The original most hated musical act from Canada until Justin Bieber came around. Depending on who you ask, its still a closely contested battle. But hell, lets just see if this is any good, or will uncrown Three Days Grace as the worst album of the year.
Nickelback is: Chad Kroeger (Lead Vocals & Guitars), Ryan Peake (Guitars & Backing Vocals), Mike Kroeger (Bass), Daniel Adair (Drums & Percussion)
- Artist: Nickelback
- Album: Get Rollin’ (2022)
- Label: Nickelback II/BMG
- Total Track Time: 41:02
San Quentin is their heavy song that was apparently also the lead single. They’ve dabbled in having heavier songs, first to come to mind is Animals; so with that said, this is tolerable. Its not deep, it just grooves along talking about trying to stay out of San Quentin but still doing irreverent things. Now I doubt its setting a heavier tone for the album, but maybe I’ll be surprised. Skinny Little Missy is a title that makes me cringe and think 70 year old southern men wrote this. So I’m both intrigued and confused from the title alone. Surprisingly it stays a little heavier in the color with distorted guitar and a prominent bass groove, and I don’t hate the chorus; “Skinny little Missy don’t want no boyfriend, Skinny little Missy don’t waste no time, Her pretty little face will never grace your bedroom, ‘Cause skinny little Missy is a friend of mine” – the concept of warning people at the bar is a country trope, but its not terrible. Oh God, the first two songs aren’t bad…am I broken? Did Nickelback get better?
Those Days is…OH GREAT! This is stripped down and cringe sounding. Like super cliché, nothing interesting about the arrangement and it’s basically Photograph but for an old 90s first love. And the lyrics are so simplistic it just makes this hard to tolerate. While the sentiment of pining for an old relationship is not new and has been done a lot just over the albums I covered, a bad arena rock group singing moment, simple words, cringe imagery…adults should not have wrote this. High Time steers into the country vibe, but it also started with a lighter and smoke exhalation sound, so now they think a song about drugs is cool? I’m all for self medication of all types, but this just sounds stupid. This sounds like it could be in a National Lampoons movie, as the picture of someone who doesn’t know what drugs do but has an image in their head. This is so awful. Vegas Bomb is a little bit of a distorted and pedaled riff with a heavy drumbeat and guitar groove. So dammit, this actually has a good sound and could easily be thrown into the background of a bar scene. While I’m a fan of an Irish Car Bomb and a Vegas Bomb isn’t my style…the song achieves what it wants and it’s fairly groovy and solid.
Tidal Wave is a song I wanted to hate at first, but it pivots a different way than I expected. It reminds me more of a Richard Marx or Cannons song. Its stripped down, but has that 80s retro synthwave simplicity and just glides along in the sparse guitars and metronome drum usage. It has that dreamlike vibe and while I don’t love it following up a heavier song since the tone shifts are whiplash inducing but its a good song. Does Heaven Even Know You’re Missing? – the titles of some of these songs made Chad sound like he’s a boomer and not Gen X. “I knew it from the day we met, That I could throw away regret, It doesn’t matter what we do, As long as I can be with you, So come and run away with me, You’re gonna love it, wait and see, Forever we can live like that, ‘Cause I’m never gonna give you back”, is the second verse and its a cute sentiment. Aside from the title and usage in the chorus being a little cliché and eye roll worthy, the song is structured like a Country ballad, think like Lady Antebellum. While I can’t see myself ever spinning this song again, its not a waste of time.
Steel Still Rusts opens with the acoustic guitar strum and it hits like 100% country rock song. It also is a soldier song, getting that across fairly well in the chorus; “Long gone is the praise for those who fought for us, Ashes to ashes, turns out steel still rusts, Stone carved in your name, no one can really trust, Shoulder another soldier they stole from us, Don’t ever bend, don’t ever crawl, Supposed to stand and never fall, Long gone is the praise for those who fought for us, Ashes to ashes, turns out steel still rusts” – so with all of that, if you like Country Rock songs, you won’t find many issues with this one. Horizon is a song that is caught in-between all of the sounds they’ve applied in this album, and executed poorly. While lyrically its a little unique since its a song about two people who are always involved with someone else so they can never be together. Over the next horizon concept is cool, but the music is sandwiched between country rock love song, 80s synth and the bad Nickelback punchline stuff. Standing In The Dark randomly sounds like The Rasmus and then we go into more of country style vocals. So its definitely sonically awkward but no offensive. So yeah, the Gothic Pop Rock elements sounds very European and you’d think Chad’s vocals might not fit, but they kind of do. The song is nothing special, but its not offensive. If this becomes a future single I won’t be shocked. Just One More goes for the 80s echoed vocal style, and I get some Cutting Crew vibes from this song that is basically expressing the urge to die to be with a lover; “Tell me, Lord, where’d my little angel go?, ‘Cause I’m down here alone, If you got room for just one more, Just one more”, the lyrics are somewhat inspired, but the 80s style arrangement takes away the desperation of the plea. So this is a song that I feel loses a lot of efficacy in the arrangement, however its not a bad song if you don’t think too hard about it.
I am in shock, this album was more good than bad, and actually had a few songs that I really enjoyed. Now they’ve always basically been a four chord band, so I’m not expecting triplets, complex runs, signature shifts…but they colored their songs fairly well in this album. Yeah there are a few of their awful cringe pop garbage songs, but there’s only like 3. I will take a few points off since the unlike the Disturbed album from last week, this album’s flow is jagged and awful. Too many tonal shifts from song to song, even if the songs are fairly solid in their own rights.
All that said, this is far from the worst album all year…its mostly positive…so this will end up much higher than I expected. I need to go do some self reflection.
Final Judgement: 6.05/10
Talk The Keki: My Hero Academia Season 6 Thoughts, The Little Lies We All Tell
Join Mat and Ethan as they start their Fall reviews! Mat adds three shows to his long list like a psychopath; find out which ones are here!
Join Mat and Ethan as they start their Fall reviews! Mat adds three shows to his long list like a psychopath; find out which ones are here! The Little Lies We All Tell finally airs for the boys to cover and hear them review various shows such as More than a Married Couple, Mobile Suit Gundam: Witch of Mercury, Eminence in Shadow, Maid War Akiba, Peter Grill, and much more!
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