REVIEW: Silver Bullet – Shadowfall

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Finland has, historically, been a country that produces a vast number of metal bands, with many of power metal’s greatest legends to their credit, such as SONATA ARCTICA and STRATOVARIUS, to say the least. While new bands come and go, few have gained as much traction for their pure power metal style in the same way as SILVER BULLET have. Led by ex-TURISAS bassist Hannes Horma, the band has donned a loose horror theme to their sound, with their first release exclusively containing songs about horror movies, while their sophomore release, “Mooncult,” being a concept story about witchcraft and witch burnings. Now, with new vocalist Bruno Proveschi at the mic and after a long COVID-related delay, their third release, “Shadowfall” will be out on January 20th, 2022!

“Shadowfall” immediately proves itself to be an album made with very high quality. Everything sounds crisp and clear, the mix is well-balanced, and the general artisanry of the musicianship is pretty excellent. Already from the “Overture to Armageddon” intro track, the score-like cinematic sound is beautifully portrayed and remains so throughout the album as a highlight of the sound. This song in particular sounds like it could very easily be from a movie trailer.

Interestingly, it seems as though a lot of common styles and sounds are used in the release in order to craft that superb power metal sound. “Shadow of a Curse,” “Nighthunter,” and “Falling Down” all feel like traditional power metal, in vein of classic STRATOVARIUS, JUDAS PRIEST, and others, while “The Ones to Fall” has a distinct feeling of a more metal-styled BEAST IN BLACK track thanks to the classic ’80s sound in the rhythms. Other times, there’s sweet guitar riffing like you’d get in classic IRON MAIDEN tracks in songs like “Creatures of the Night” and “Dusk of Dawn,” while they have hints of classic German speed metal à la old HELLOWEEN in songs like “Soul Reaver,” and “Falling Down” brings QUEENSRYCHE to mind at times.

If the album lacks a bit of its own identity outside of “traditional power metal,” it nevertheless proves itself to be spectacularly made thanks to small details in the sound, like a little call that could be a voice or an instrument hidden in “Shadow of a Curse,” a sweet solo in “Dusk of Dawn,” or a funky bass line in “The Ones to Fall.” A band of clones, these guys are definitely not.

The album’s ballad, “…And Then Comes Oblivion,” toes the line of cheesy without crossing it, with a standard dramatic tempo, beautiful vocals by Bruno, nice use of strings, and a soft solo that has a bit of a flamenco style to the sound. It’s a lovely track but may take a few spins to leave its mark properly.

However, the crowning jewel of this album is truly the final track, “The Thirteen Nails,” which still sounds like a classic power metal song but has a little undefinable somethin’-somethin’ that really makes it stand out and stick in your mind and always gets me moving in my seat. I am always harping on about how you should leave your listeners wanting more with the final song on an album and this song absolutely achieves this, 100%! Even the lyrics seem intriguing, so this means that hopefully the album will open up even more on further listens, and I’ll probably have to pick this one up so I can look at the lyrics and read more into what the songs are about.

One could almost call “Shadowfall” to be a well-crafted homage to the legendary power metal bands that crafted the foundation of the genre, as SILVER BULLET explore all of these classic sounds superbly. Though there are many clear influences in the sound, no one song sounds distinctly like a copy of the old legends – they all have a little something of their own, often largely in the backing orchestrations or small details in sound. However, if you’re looking for a through-line sound-wise from SILVER BULLET, it seems as though their final style is still in the making. I, for one, am quite interested to see where they go from here!

Written by Bear Wiseman

Tracklist

  1. Overture to Armageddon
  2. Shadow of a Curse
  3. The Ones to Fall
  4. Creatures of the Night
  5. Soul Reaver
  6. …And Then Comes Oblivion
  7. Nighthunter
  8. Dusk of the Dawn
  9. Falling Down
  10. The Thirteen Nails

Lineup

Hannes Horma – guitars
Henri Asikainen – guitars
Bruno Proveschi – vocals
Ossi Elonen – bass
Patrik Albrecht – drums

Label

Reaper Entertainment

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