Europe undoubtedly showcases some of the best Power & Speed metal out there but emerging from the shadows, is a new contender to the throne. Causing ripples in their wake from across the Atlantic, prepare yourself, for an aggressive assault on the senses with the debut album from San Diego’s NIGHTSHADOW.
Get your character sheet ready, grab your dice and join NIGHTSHADOW in their quest in this blistering opening track Legend. “For fortune and fame, these tales told, will all be yours, your legend is made.”
Witch Queen starts with a slower pace but soon unleashes a battlefield-like charge upon you. Opportune headbanging moments throughout with a fist-pumping ending. “Kill, kill, kill. KILL THE WITCH QUEEN!” This song is diverse, as we are given the verses back-to-back with one sole chorus before some dual axe-wielding prowess from both Nick Harrington and Danny Fang.
Ripper is taken from the perspective of Old Saucy Jack himself, Jack The Ripper. Whilst the content is grim, this song is a lot of fun: “They know not my name, they only know my game, it’s all in fun this carnage that I crave.” There is a great bass solo included here from Chris Bader too.
Love & Vengeance is a mighty and epic piece. Starting with an Eddie Van Halen like guitar intro and ballad approach but then totally changes pace at the halfway mark. The song itself is about the love of an enchantress by a dragon, and when said enchantress is slain by her fellow townsfolk the dragon unleashes its fury and vengeance upon them all. “Now I take to the wing and fly, vengeance is my name!” There is undoubtably a magical blend of MEGADETH, HELLOWEEN and IRON MAIDEN in this masterpiece.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed Dracula with a classic AC/DC riff? Children Of The Night certainly solves that! Being an avid horror fan, this really ticks all the right boxes, the following line totally sums up the band: “What sweet music we make!”
False Truths just reminds me of the band HELL which is a good thing! Throwing the seeds of doubt at organised religion. “As men of faith, force feed lies, to the mindless fools with unseeing eyes” This track showcases all of vocalist Brian Dell’s range and is a phenomenal track throughout.
If you needed one song to charge into battle to, Strike Them Dead might well be it. Envision hordes of cavalry and infantry charging across the plain to engage in combat. There is also some poignant imagery generated from the lyrics too “Raise a glass for the fallen, share a tale for the dead.”
Strap yourself down for Blood Penance as this is a fast one! This is a very politically orientated track about tearing down the elite “they have lit their own fuse, no chance for resignation, destruction is the pathway they choose” There are some great duelling guitar solos on offer here with some extremely thrash orientated vibes too.
Fans of Michael Moorcock will know the significance of the song title Storm Bringer. A full-on sword and sorcery tale surrounding the blade wielded by Elric of Melniboné. Crafted by Chaos it gives its bearer health, strength and fighting prowess but it must be feed with the souls of intelligent beings: “This eternal war we wage will cleanse of our misery, to quell your futile screams.” This is a mighty power metal attack from start to finish with elements that pay homage to the score of classic video game Golden Axe.
Mistress of the Pit is a homage to the album cover artwork, which depicts a succubus, and this is her story. What I love about this track, is that the opening verse cataphorically references the closing verse of the track. This is a fantastic album closer whetting the appetite for what else NIGHTSHADOW will unleash in the future.
This debut offering has successfully blended the best elements of Thrash and Power Metal which will be to the delight of many. NIGHTSHADOW have successfully carved their name into the annals of heavy metal where their legacy can only continue to rise.
Words: Martin White
Strike Them Dead is out now.
Find NIGHTSHADOW on Facebook.