"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Electronomicon - "Unleashing The Shadows" (CD)

Electronomicon - "Unleashing The Shadows" CD cover image

"Unleashing The Shadows" track listing:

1. The Art of Destruction (3:56 )
2. I Believe (4:16)
3. Waiting (6:05)
4. Do You Remember? (4:30)
5. Take Me (3:50)
6. Dark Flight (3:47)
7. You Are in Shadows (3:43)
8. New Beginning Day (3:35)
9. Far Away (5:19)
10. Pieces of a Dream (4:18)

Reviewed by on November 18, 2013

"Owen Bryant ingeniously tapped the lively and energetic Argentinian team of Valdez and Fornes and in doing so he has gained a fantastic guitarist and one of the fastest rising and best current singers in the entire business."

It must have been the 90’s that truly worried me about bands that originate wholly or in part from the United States. Sure, looking back on that decade there are some really classic releases – but as I recall living through it, I imagined a book entitled “The Rise and Fall of Heavy Metal in the United States.” In the 80’s, bands from the U.S. had much more respect in the metal world. As a former “elitist” from the 1990’s, the decade truly soured my taste of U.S. metal and left me overly cautious to accept new acts, a feeling that echoes even today – but never more than a fleeting thought. Age and acceptance forced revisiting that “dark decade” revealing that metal never really fell in the U.S., it was just recoiling and waiting for the cycle to reboot. It still took some time for that respect to resurface, and with help from some of the established U.S. acts who resurrected in the “reunion” era of 2000’s, the stock of U.S. metal was rising again.

At the tail end of the 2000’s, Electronomicon formed out of Seattle by drummer Owen Bryant, releasing an impressive first volley (“Chapter 1 – In the Beginning”). As the next decade hit, Electronomicon shuffled members and struck an international union between the United States and Argentina when vocalist Diego Valdez (Helker/Tridana) – “the Argentinian Dio” – and guitarist Juan Jose Fornes (Triddana/ex-Skiltron) joined the band and instantaneously raised the bar. With the release of “Unleashing the Shadows,” the band has rocketed into the elite of traditional metal.

It’s no deep secret that metal in South America is huge. Brazil, Argentina, and Chile have a plethora of phenomenal metal acts and the fans from the region are some of the most ravenous and loyal in the world. So, it’s no shock that Electronomicon is propelled into the world spotlight with the addition of two of Argentina’s brightest musicians. If you have yet to discover Diego Valdez, he sports one of the best voices in the world and has stunned critics with his work in Helker and Triddana. His near perfect Dio style instantly makes any band better. Fornes provides the power with a modern riff crunch and fantastic solos that put excitement back into traditional metal. “Unleashing the Shadows” will instantly garner fans of traditional and power metal and fills a void left by the devastating loss of Ronnie James Dio. Electronomicon has far surpassed the last couple of Jorn albums by a large margin, with Jorn’s solo band the closest comparison to the style of metal presented.

Electronomicon’s approach is not to dazzle you with some new formula to reinvent the karmic music wheel. It smacks you with power laden melodic metal and rocks your face off with slicing riffs, pounding drums, and gritty vocals. Guitar driven pounding rhythms are strewn about with tracks like "You Are In Shadows," "New Beginning Day," and opener "The Art of Destruction," which along with album favorite "Do You Remember?" make up the strongest core of heavier tracks. “Take Me” has a more modern melodic metal approach with the addition of keyboard work just before the riff kicks in. The chorus shines as the best on the album, with “Waiting” and “I Believe” in a very close tie for second. Valdez also shows off his softer side on the power ballad “Far Away.”

The album really has no weak spot from a memorable writing aspect, so it’s only limited by how much listeners enjoy the traditional styles of metal and heavy rock variety. “Unleashing the Shadows” is an enjoyable release and receives high recommendations for fans of Dio, Jorn, and melodic rock acts with plenty of heaviness to please all fans of traditional metal. Owen Bryant ingeniously tapped the lively and energetic Argentinian team of Valdez and Fornes and in doing so he has gained a fantastic guitarist and one of the fastest rising and best current singers in the entire business. While I am sure that critics will label Valdez a “Dio clone” (as if it that is a bad thing) comparisons here are given as the greatest compliment bestowed on any singer. You can expect only great things from this band in the future.

Highs: Diego Valdez, and the well written and memorable guitar driven traditional metal/heavy rock

Lows: The "basic style" may not appeal to fans seeking something different.

Bottom line: Electronomicon unleashes the power of Diego Valdez, who steps forth from the shadows as a winner.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)