Nightshadow – Strike Them Dead (Self-Released)

Friday, 21st May 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

Creating a catchy musical stew of power, shred, thrash and classic heavy metal, San Diego act Nightshadow checks off a lot of mandatory listening boxes with their sound. Gaining prime opening slots locally for their heroes such as Hammerfall, Marty Friedman, and Adrenaline Mob, Strike Them Dead is the full-length follow-up to their self-titled debut EP from 2017. Over the course of these ten songs it’s easy to understand these musicians have capable abilities and hone their craft into energetic arrangements that contain equal appeal to the North American and European influences they pull from.

Fiery twin harmony shred spots and arpeggio-laced action appear on the opener “Legend”, while “Witch Queen” as the follow-up showcases some of their galloping nature and dynamic clean activities – a double salvo that will make listeners think of Iron Maiden as much as Gamma Ray and Helloween. The guitar tandem of Danny Fang and Nick Harrington surely have spent bedroom/rehearsal time perfecting their chops and speed proficiencies – taking aspects from neoclassical / shred and power/progressive players old and new to deliver mesmerizing work. Check out “Ripper” and “Blood Penance” for their melodic, fluid assault that provides headbanging, fist waving devil’s horns approval – pushing each other to get the best work forward in commanding, adrenalized honor. The record blends together speedy/power metal offerings of normal four to five-minute arrangements with the occasional seven-minute plus epic where they can stretch their atmosphere with slower, clean segments or instrumental work that is wider in scope. “Love & Vengeance” a perfect vehicle to showcase Brian Dell’s impressive, emotionally charged melodic power and allow bassist Chris Bader plus drummer Sean Woodman to stretch into heads down thrash/extreme angles. The record ends with “Mistress of the Pit”, another stunner featuring a boatload of twin axe harmonies, a bass lead dynamic twist, and transitional stop/start riffs of varying mid-tempo and faster sequences plus Brian bursting at the seams between his normal register and blood curdling screams.

Nightshadow lives for a style that is catchy, heavy, infectious and filled to the brim from a musicianship standpoint that these songs never grow old in terms of discovering something new through each successive listen. Strike Them Dead is quite impressive and should launch their career for those who love the heavier side of Teutonic meets American power metal.

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