Shadowmaster – Shadowmaster (Review)

ShadowmasterShadowmaster are a Swedish doom/sludge metal band and this is their debut album.

Now this is the stuff. This is brooding and monolithic doom metal, a whopping 66 minutes of it in fact.

Shadowmaster are heavier than a sack of spanners, and as brutally nasty as being smashed in the face with said sack. This is a band that command legions of huge riffs and know exactly how to deploy them.

The songs on this exceptionally enjoyable album are colossal slabs of thick, distorted doom. With a fervent reverence for The Riff and all that goes along with it, there’s a sludge aspect to the band’s delivery that simply makes them heavier and more abrasive than they might otherwise be. This sludge element lends a murkier, uglier side to some of the guitars, fusing with the doom metal style and making it darker and harsher.

The sludge metal influence extends to the vocals too, which consist of caustic screams. Buried in the pounding tsunamis of heavy distortion, the singer’s voice is a ragged shriek that sounds like it’s scraping against something nasty and ancient.

There’s more than just a bludgeoning in store for anyone who listens to this, of course. The band know how to write engaging and textured music, despite the prevalence of crushing riffs and tormented vocals. There’s a certain compellingly dark atmosphere to parts of these songs that’s very engaging, while elements of nuance raise their heads here and there, before being mercilessly put down by the onslaught of slow guitars.

On Shadowmaster the darkness is as palpable as it is relentless and unforgiving. This is one of the many reasons why this is such a damn good album.

Turn up the volume and get ready for Shadowmaster. Will you survive the encounter without being flattened?

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