|Release Date||12 July 2019|
My first taste of power metal ever was when I heard DragonForce’s ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ in my early teens. Aside from my young mind being absolutely fucking blown by how fast they could play (because, when I was eleven, that’s all I gave a shit about), I was entranced by their high vocals, heroic melody, and super long solo section. Ever since then, while I’ve obviously listened to an assload of power metal, there have been very few albums in the genre that have delivered that same intense sense of wonder and excitement.
And, in all honesty, ShadowStrike’s Legends of Human Spirit has come damn close to delivering just that. I came across one of the band’s singles completely by chance a few weeks ago and, I have to say, I am so glad that I found them. Considering that Legends of Human Spirit is their first full-length album, and especially considering that they’re from America of all places, I didn’t expect them to be one of the best Power Quest/DragonForce-styled bands on the scene today, but here we are. While still delivering a powerful onslaught of dragonslaying sixteenth notes and astral vocal lines, they add enough originality, such as more varied song structure and heavy symphonic influence, that they even stand above most of the European bands in the space.
Seriously. Right out of the gate we’re greeted with a flying guitar line and a ridiculous drum fill before venturing across an expansive, fantastical landscape of neoclassical believe-in-yourself anthems and shredding solos (both key and guitar, obviously). On top of that, we’re blindsided every now and then, such as that sick breakdown and more old school solo in ‘Gales of Winter’. Each song is dynamic and has its own little world to offer.
Among my favourite of these glorious songs would have to be ‘A Dream of Stars’ because of that super cheesy synth intro and the ultra-victorious chorus (hey, that rhymes!). And that solo section? Holy fuck. What a song. I know that eleven-year-old-me would have pissed his pants over something like this, because present-day me nearly did.
For those of you who grew up on DragonForce and Stratovarius, this album will be a godsend. And, for those of you who are sick of the same generic power metal album, I promise you that Legends of Human Spirit is something special. I sincerely hope that this debut pushes ShadowStrike to continue developing their metal, because they’re certainly capable of taking the North American metal scene by storm.
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