Shadowside – Inner Monster Out (Inner Wound Recordings)

Wednesday, 27th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

It has taken some time, but it appears as if the female-fronted pendulum has shifted to power metal. Where once a female siren could only be found fronting a pseudo Goth or symphonic metal band, there’s at least a handful of worthy power metal bands with a chick singer, including Kobra and the Lotus, Triosphere (how about a new album?), and the band in question, Brazil’s Shadowside. Since their 2005 formation, the band has released three albums and toured the globe, gradually building the kind of following that affords festival longevity and occasional club stints in North America.

Originally released in 2011, Inner Monster Out saw a North American release in 2012, which either hurts or helps the band, depending on who’s asked. Regardless, the band’s on-point power metal is headed up by vocalist Dani Nolden, who has quite the set of lungs on her, almost in a quasi-manly way, much like Triosphere’s totally awesome Ida Haukland. Norden has almost the same amount of attitude, as heard on “In the Name of Love” where she belts out a rangy chorus. Over the staccato-driven portions of “My Disrupted Reality,” she’s at her best, pulling from various angles of her throat, while never forsaking melody.

The album gets a major push in the promotional department via guest spots from Dark Tranquillity’s Mikael Stanne, Soilwork’s Bjorn “Speed” Strid, and Dream Evil’s Niklas Isfeldt on the title track. Each vocalist gets a turn, with Isfeldt and Norden going at it during the chorus, while Strid and Stanne chime in with their guttural vocals. Certainly one of the better-formatted guest spots in recent memory.

When power metal stays out of the fantasy doldrums and keeps it heavy, it generally doesn’t miss the mark. Shadowside for the most part, are on target with Inner Monster Out. Cool to see an album of this nature devoid of cliché, with no sight of unnecessary cleavage or balladry to boot.

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