Silver Bullet – Shadowfall (Reaper Entertainment)Friday, 20th January 2023
Already making a strong impression on this scribe through their second album Mooncult in 2019, Finnish power metal band Silver Bullet returns for the follow-up Shadowfall with a significant lineup change. Most listeners err on the side of skepticism when hearing about movement in the vocalist slot – which is the case here as Bruno Proveschi takes over for Nils Nordling. With an open creative playbook so to speak, the quintet places all their proverbial cards on the table in the hopes of establishing themselves as a reliable force in the current scene.
Listeners can expect a European-oriented approach to power metal, chock full of proper musical hooks, catchy vocal melodies, plus the supplementary effects or choir-like touches to bring these songs home in magnificent splendor. Be it the shredding arpeggio-oriented lead guitar break meets cleaner start to the otherwise Savatage-esque “Creatures of the Night”, restrained vocals gliding over acoustic guitar passages that build with dramatic flair for the cinematic power ballad “…And Then Comes Oblivion”, on through to the slow build bursting into Stratovarius-like intrigue during “Falling Down”, the ability to showcase a multi-dimensional approach is the key to retaining longevity. The supplementary choir parts never take away from the tenacious, metal to the bone voice Bruno has. Probably a bit smoother in his upper range than Nils previously, he possesses traits of Roy Khan and Russell Allen through his technique, along with a classic AOR-aspect (a la Steve Perry/Journey) that push “Shadow of a Curse” and “Nighthunter” to upper levels of signature Silver Bullet future classics. The two-guitar lineup of Henri Asikainen and Hannes Horma (who also provides keyboards in his duties) allows the band to fill the landscape with vibrant power riffs, twin action, plus rhythms that can act in counterpoint sonic measures – the almost seven-minute epic “The Thirteen Nails” adventurous because of their proficiency in licks, rhythms, and energetic leads.
Silver Bullet deliver a meat and potatoes aspect to their melodic power metal base for Shadowfall that could garner plenty of attention depending on the touring partners. They should stride along without missing a beat even with a singer shift – as the quality songwriting, clean/clear performances, and solid production values rival the elite in this field.