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Sinbreed - "Shadows" (CD)

Sinbreed - "Shadows" CD cover image

"Shadows" track listing:

1. Bleed
2. Shadows
3. Call to Arms
4. Reborn
5. Leaving the Road
6. Far Too Long
7. Black Death
8. Standing Tall
9. London Moon
10. Broken Wings
11. London Moon
12. Standing Tall

Reviewed by on April 11, 2014

"With nods to the bands that started all of this – Helloween, Iron Maiden with a touch of Priest – Sinbreed is the embodiment of pure metal: strong, swift, and in your face."

There is one thing you can always expect from guitarist Flo Laurin: exceptionally honest power metal. The man makes no compromises, no apologies, no excuses, no bending to the knee to progressive pundits, and absolutely no gaudy orchestration. The 2010 debut “When Worlds Collide” made an impact, leading to an opening set at ProgPower USA in 2012. Four years removed from the debut, Laurin has returned with “Shadows,” and one thing that does not lack there is speed. From top to bottom, the album is a relentless attack of speed that lets up for only brief moments. It stands at the forefront of the re-emergence of highly relevant Germanic power that grew just a bit stagnant over the past 15 years.

What is old is certainly new again, as Sinbreed dishes out an aural assault of metallic velocity and it is all together fresh and exciting as it was in a different age. One of the challenges a band faces when utilizing this much acceleration is making the songs stand apart – not only from each other but the past as well. Laurin has kicked the songwriting into high gear, accentuating the pace with memorable choruses and the occasional mid-paced riff. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have two Blind Guardian members in guitar counterpart Marcus Siepen and drummer extraordinaire Frederik Ehmke, who exercise some of the roots of that other German great. For those that like their metal where blistering riffs and headbanging are the central essence, you can come forth from the “Shadows” and claim your new prize.

The pace commences with “Bleed” continuing all the way until the first couple of minutes of “Broken Wings,” with little before or after that doesn’t lay ears to waste with the sonic barrage. The album’s best is by far “Black Death” – a decisively darker number in both lyrics and sound with a cool chorus to boot. Speaking of choruses, plenty abound, the best represented in “Shadows” and “Call to Arms.” Another personal favorite is the closer “Standing Tall,” which ends the album with as much ferocity as it begins – complete with some twin guitar harmony a la Iron Maiden (along with the “seventh son of a seventh son” lyric).

Of all the many standouts on the release, one of the biggest is the performance of vocalist Herbie Langhans (Seventh Avenue/Beyond the Bridge). His versatile voice plays with power metal just as good as progressive with BTB. His vocal strength puts the punch behind the power on “Shadows” along with the phenomenal production by Flo Laurin and engineer Markus Teske (Firewind/Mob Rules/U.D.O.), the same team behind the debut “When Worlds Collide.” With power metal this pure, you need the sound clear and sharp – and “Shadows” has this in spades.

In the end, it is all about the “Flo” and what he brings to this fantastic band. His approach may seem to some like the creation of the “generic,” but it’s the purity of his product and stalwart dedication to the great Germanic power metal style that is so noteworthy. With nods to the bands that started all of this – Helloween, Iron Maiden with a touch of Priest – Sinbreed is the embodiment of pure metal: strong, swift, and in your face. I don’t think Flo would have it any other way….because why would you bore your audience with ultra-technical orchestrated Dream Theater-esque progression? “Shadows” is metal, pure and simple.

Highs: Speed....the glorious and perfect speed.

Lows: For some fans, this may come off like generic power metal.

Bottom line: With "Shadows" its all about the "flo," and Sinbreed is chock full o' speed!

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)