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On disc: Shadowside

Dare To Dream - Mike Thompson - 8 stars

Dare to Dream

Dare To Dream
(Chavis Records 2009)

Shadowside are a four-piece band from Brazil and since being formed in 2001 they appear to have already conquered their home country. In fact, in their first year of existence they played with such bands as Nightwish and Primal Fear!
On looking at the members of the band I assumed this would be another symphonic female-fronted band destined to become popular based less on talent and more due to the pretty girl on the mic. I couldn't have been more wrong! What Shadowside offer is melodic yet heavy metal with influences from classic metal, thrash and power metal.
The stand out factor on this album is vocalist Dani Nolden. Bloody hell, this lady can belt it out! The song Memories in particular shows both sides of this talented woman as she attacks the mic with real aggressive attitude that wouldn't be out of place on a thrash album and contrasts this with some soft parts that show the melodic side of her voice. I don't think I've ever heard a voice like this on a female singer before and I've heard a lot of female singers, from operatic voices to black metal shriekers but no-one with the sheer power that Nolden possesses. If this album had no other redeeming features I'd still recommend listening to it just to hear this voice!
However, the album fortunately does have other things to recommend it. The guitar tone is spot on, crunching and heavy and a perfect accompaniment to the voice of Dani Nolden. Raphael Mattos is a talented axeman but the best thing about the guitars are not the technical prowess on display but that all the solos fit perfectly in the songs.
There are only two downsides with this album. The first is that sometimes I just want the band to let themselves go and rock out a superfast tune, but the album tends to remain rooted in mid-paced rockers. All are good, but I wanted something more. The second thing is the ballad Time To Say Goodbye which really doesn't fit in my opinion. The lyrics to the song are very nice, but I don't think Dani Nolden's voice is particularly suited to this. She has a heavy voice and needs heavy songs to utilize it.
Apart from those few minor nitpicks this is a very good album highly recommended to all fans of good old heavy metal.

8 stars

Mike Thompson


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