Rating:
N/A
Shadowdance - Future Negative Fantasy
1 May 2012


01. Neon Abyss
02. Branded
03. All Or Nothing
04. Stare At The Sun
05. Balance
06. Moonlight Tide
07. Walk With Fate
08. Suspension
09. One More Taste
10. Future Negative Fantasy


Shadowdance is an unsigned two-man band based in the USA and, despite being around from 1999, they have just issued their second album with the help of numerous talented guest and session musicians (including Santeri Kallio of Amorphis-fame). Now that you have the basic information, let's move to the big question - is it good? Well, both yes and no.

Stylistically, it is an interesting experiment in fusion, exploring what would happen if tempos and melodic patterns of European power metal would pass through a US power metal filter. Think John Schaffer and Timo Tolkki composing together (except their egos couldn't fit into one room. Ba-dum-tss, I bet you didn't see that one comin'!) That sounds amazing in theory, but the baby doesn't always have the best traits of both its parents. If you mix green and purple, you're not going to get octarine, because this isn't Discworld.* You're going to get a color that's not very vibrant.

In attempt to find the so-called middle ground, Shadowdance have found themselves making music without a lot of highs and lows, which strips a lot of the excitement this could have had if executed in a different way. The music is smart, not cheesy, snappy, the bands adds some "exotic" touches and the playing is very much up to snuff, which got me excited during the first and the second spin, but the more time I invested in it, the less I wanted to play it. Riffs should have been heavier and fully fleshed out, there should have been more hooks, and the vocal melodies would absolutely have to be more defined in order for Future Negative Fantasy to reach its full potential. Yes, the album is pleasantly dark, and yes, there are bursts of intensity within certain tracks, but you can't get much out of it because it's hermetic. It doesn't let you in. It didn't provoke me, nor did it challenge me. And it could have.

Check it out on the band's Bandcamp page and decide for yourself. There's not an abundance of interesting power metal albums this year, and the number decreases furthermore when you rule out the ones that are frilly, so, if heavier power metal is your thing, you should pay attention to this band.

* If you don't get this, go and introduce yourself to Terry Pratchett's books. Seriously.


Band profile: Shadowdance
Album: Future Negative Fantasy


 



Written on 23.09.2012 by
Milena
A part of the team since December 2011, writes about the progressive, the sad and the melodic. She's nice until she's not.
More reviews by Milena ››



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Ag Fox - 23.09.2012 at 10:06  
Spot on review. Definitely agree with not having enough hooks and therefore not managing to pull me in when it has the potential to do so in the first place with it being dark and non-cheesy
Zaphod - 23.09.2012 at 14:52  
Written by Ag Fox on 23.09.2012 at 10:06

Spot on review. Definitely agree with not having enough hooks and therefore not managing to pull me in when it has the potential to do so in the first place with it being dark and non-cheesy

This is kind of off topic, but I have to ask. What do people mean when they talk about "hooks" in music? It's probably a stupid question, but I've been seeing it everywhere for years and I never really fully understood what exactly it means . Also, English is not my first language, so it might have to do with that.
Ag Fox - 23.09.2012 at 14:55  
Written by Zaphod on 23.09.2012 at 14:52

Written by Ag Fox on 23.09.2012 at 10:06

Spot on review. Definitely agree with not having enough hooks and therefore not managing to pull me in when it has the potential to do so in the first place with it being dark and non-cheesy

This is kind of off topic, but I have to ask. What do people mean when they talk about "hooks" in music? It's probably a stupid question, but I've been seeing it everywhere for years and I never really fully understood what exactly it means . Also, English is not my first language, so it might have to do with that.
the way I interpret the word: the vocal equivalent of a guitar riff. but it doesn't have to exactly repeat 10 times like guitars, just some memorable vocal line
Zaphod - 23.09.2012 at 15:00  
Written by Ag Fox on 23.09.2012 at 14:55

the way I interpret the word: the vocal equivalent of a guitar riff. but it doesn't have to exactly repeat 10 times like guitars, just some memorable vocal line

Oh, I get it . Thanks for that explanation.

From what I heard so far the album sounds good, the review definitely describes it very well .
Kuroboshi - 23.09.2012 at 15:59  
I have always thought of hooks as interesting and groovy riffs that stays in your head, but I might be wrong.

On topic: good review, made we want to skip this one.
Skinny Viking - 23.09.2012 at 19:00  
Man, you guys are a tough crowd

You want MORE hooks?
Milena - 24.09.2012 at 01:00  
Written by Skinny Viking on 23.09.2012 at 19:00

Man, you guys are a tough crowd

Not as tough as some other people on here
Skinny Viking - 24.09.2012 at 15:23  
All I can say is I'll try my best with the next batch of songs
Milena - 24.09.2012 at 22:02  
Written by Skinny Viking on 24.09.2012 at 15:23

All I can say is I'll try my best with the next batch of songs

Mr. Alvarez, I presume? if you as an artist are happy with your work, then it shouldn't really matter what me or any other reviewer has to say, at least that's how I view it but yeah, I think we'll all keep an eye on you guys.
Skinny Viking - 25.09.2012 at 00:11  
Quote:
Quote:

Mr. Alvarez, I presume? if you as an artist are happy with your work, then it shouldn't really matter what me or any other reviewer has to say, at least that's how I view it but yeah, I think we'll all keep an eye on you guys.


Guilty

Oh believe me, as an "artist" ( I use the term very lightly in regards to myself) I'm fully aware that not everyone will always like everything you do ... and that's cool

However I do enjoy criticism & feedback, good & bad, because it helps me to see things from the outside perspective and give insight to what can sometimes be a very selfish process. If all I cared about was my own opinion, I'd never bother to publicly release music

I dig your review and appreciate it, even if I don't necessarily agree with all of it (not enough hooks????)
R'Vannith - 25.09.2012 at 17:20  
Haven't listened to this in a while (perhaps not a good sign) but I seem to remember there being plenty of hooks. What I don't remember though is all of the hooks themselves, so I guess you could say there are not enough 'successful' hooks, some didn't grab my attention as much as others. Still sounded damn good to me, though you're right on the money with the vocals I think, something seemed a bit detracting about them at times.
Milena - 25.09.2012 at 17:52  
Written by R'Vannith on 25.09.2012 at 17:20

Haven't listened to this in a while (perhaps not a good sign) but I seem to remember there being plenty of hooks. What I don't remember though is all of the hooks themselves, so I guess you could say there are not enough 'successful' hooks, some didn't grab my attention as much as others. Still sounded damn good to me, though you're right on the money with the vocals I think, something seemed a bit detracting about them at times.

Yeah, I do remember you liked it, and you might remember I said it sounded quite promising based on the samples I heard, back in that power metal thread, so I went ahead and got it.

Very little trad metal managed to grab me this year though, I'm not in a hurry to check out all the rest I missed out on. Being a student and trying to review/prep the Awards at the same time sucks when you always feel like you're stealing time
R'Vannith - 25.09.2012 at 18:04  
Written by Milena on 25.09.2012 at 17:52

Yeah, I do remember you liked it, and you might remember I said it sounded quite promising based on the samples I heard, back in that power metal thread, so I went ahead and got it.

Very little trad metal managed to grab me this year though, I'm not in a hurry to check out all the rest I missed out on. Being a student and trying to review/prep the Awards at the same time sucks when you always feel like you're stealing time


I haven't heard all that many traditional metal albums either, beyond some of the bigger names. There certainly isn't much to offer this year. And awards already? You guys start early!
Milena - 25.09.2012 at 18:08  
Written by Skinny Viking on 25.09.2012 at 00:11

Guilty

Oh believe me, as an "artist" ( I use the term very lightly in regards to myself) I'm fully aware that not everyone will always like everything you do ... and that's cool

However I do enjoy criticism & feedback, good & bad, because it helps me to see things from the outside perspective and give insight to what can sometimes be a very selfish process. If all I cared about was my own opinion, I'd never bother to publicly release music

I dig your review and appreciate it, even if I don't necessarily agree with all of it (not enough hooks????)

Well cheers for disagreeing in a polite manner We have had cases of band members and fans ganging up on reviewers here in the past for simply stating an opinion... which was sometimes fun to observe but it gets old. Reviews are just reviews, they're really nothing to be mad about.

I always try to pitch a band for its target audience even if I personally don't find it interesting, or to offer some critique and insight as an ordinary fan of metal who hears a lot of albums during the year; if I feel like I'm doing a disservice to the band by publishing something, I won't publish it
Milena - 25.09.2012 at 18:10  
Written by R'Vannith on 25.09.2012 at 18:04

I haven't heard all that many traditional metal albums either, beyond some of the bigger names. There certainly isn't much to offer this year. And awards already? You guys start early!

They're being prep'ed all year long
Skinny Viking - 25.09.2012 at 19:08  
Written by Milena on 25.09.2012 at 18:08

Written by Skinny Viking on 25.09.2012 at 00:11

Guilty

Oh believe me, as an "artist" ( I use the term very lightly in regards to myself) I'm fully aware that not everyone will always like everything you do ... and that's cool

However I do enjoy criticism & feedback, good & bad, because it helps me to see things from the outside perspective and give insight to what can sometimes be a very selfish process. If all I cared about was my own opinion, I'd never bother to publicly release music

I dig your review and appreciate it, even if I don't necessarily agree with all of it (not enough hooks????)

Well cheers for disagreeing in a polite manner We have had cases of band members and fans ganging up on reviewers here in the past for simply stating an opinion... which was sometimes fun to observe but it gets old. Reviews are just reviews, they're really nothing to be mad about.

I always try to pitch a band for its target audience even if I personally don't find it interesting, or to offer some critique and insight as an ordinary fan of metal who hears a lot of albums during the year; if I feel like I'm doing a disservice to the band by publishing something, I won't publish it


I've seen my fair share of people doing that as well and find it a bit .. humorous but as you said, it gets old and its also a little sad

I only even found out about this review because I happened to check the stats on the bandcamp page and saw something like 68 plays! I don't think thats happened since I released the damn thing! hahaha

At least, not in one day. It also resulted in several purchases so all things being equal, all I can really say is Thank You, for listening to it and apparently purchasing it, as well as taking the time to review it

Next time though, if you wish to let me know in advance I'd be more than happy to provide you a free copy. Least I can do in return for a review

Cheers!
Monolithic - 30.09.2012 at 04:23  
Written by Skinny Viking on 25.09.2012 at 19:08

I only even found out about this review because I happened to check the stats on the bandcamp page and saw something like 68 plays! I don't think thats happened since I released the damn thing! hahaha

Well you're also on Spotify as well,AKA one of the greatest things that has happened to the modern music industry. I've checked out a few tracks and you sure have some fascinating "hooks."

Keep it up, good man.
Skinny Viking - 01.10.2012 at 17:04  
Quote:
Written by Monolithic on 30.09.2012 at 04:23


I've checked out a few tracks and you sure have some fascinating "hooks."

Keep it up, good man.


You and I can get along just fine

Thanks man, its appreciated!

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