Album Reviews

Sinbreed – Shadows

Back in 2010, German power metallers Sinbreed released their debut album When Worlds Collide on Ulterium Records to critical acclaim from the metal press. The band then landed an opening slot on the prestigious ProgPower USA Festival in Atlanta, wowing the crowd with an impressive energetic performance and the David Lee Roth showmanship of singer Herbie Langhans. It’s been four long years, but the band has finally returned with their sophomore album for new label AFM Records titled Shadows. As with the debut, mix and mastering was handled by the experienced producer Markus Teske who worked with Symphony X, Vanden Plas, Neal Morse, Saga and many more.

The albums first single/video Bleed starts off the proceedings with a razor sharp riff and vocalist Langhans ferocious vocal attack. Langhans vocals are a combination of melody and grit, which is quite different from his more understated and calm vocal approach with his other band, the progressive upstarts Beyond the Bridge. The song is an anthemic modern power metal classic with a memorable melodic chorus and a Maiden-esque harmony guitar solo from the guitar duo of Flo Laurin and Marcus Siepen.

The pedal to the metal style continues on the metal anthem Call to Arms. The vocal melodies and harmonies are timeless and classic in sound and style. Drummer Frederick Ehmke’s machine gun double bass attack ignites the title track Shadows, which has a very thrash guitar influence. The dichotomy of the song is amazing in that the guitar and drums are extremely brutal while the multi-harmonic vocal harmonies during the chorus soar into the stratosphere.

Reborn has a classic metal guitar harmony intro and pummels the listener into submission with a chugging heavy metal rhythm. The chorus is a power metal monster without ever dipping into the cliché cheesiness that the sub-genre can be known for. The fast pace continues on the aggressive headbanger Leaving The Road is reminiscent of fellow Germans Accept during the verses with another spectacular chorus and guitar solo section. The band crank up the speed metal on the lightning fast Far Too Long. The guitar harmonies are familiar sounding bringing back memories of all your old favorites like Helloween, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. Langhan’s gritty vocals have touches of classic Udo from his days with Accept. High praise to be sure! Ehmke’s drumwork here is nothing short of spectacular with precision and accuaracy.

The galloping and punishing metal guitar riffs of Black Death pummel the listener into oblivion and then, there’s that chorus, a magnificent powerful and dynamic thing of beauty that is worth the price of the album all in itself. Without a doubt this is the highlight of an album that is chock full of highlights. The listener is then lulled into a false sense that the album is slowing down with the clean folk metal guitar intro to Broken Wings which (not surprisingly) has a Blind Guardian feel to it, but soon enough the headbanging guitar riffs return with a vengeance. Langhan’s approach here is slightly less aggressive and relies more on his extremely capable melodic side. London Moon has a powerfully precise guitar attack and another melodic metal refrain, which shows Langhan’s reaching for the stratosphere of his vocal range quite successfully.

On the final track Standing Tall, the band pay their collective respects to the mighty Maiden with a tip of the hat to the British legends classic songs The Trooper and Seventh Son of A Seventh Son. We’re not talking about any kind of ripoff here, just a sign of respect to a band that pretty much influenced every power metal and speed metal band out there with familiar sounding harmony guitars and arrangements. At times Langhans vocals are reminiscent of current Accept frontman Mark Tornillo with a touch of Bruce Dickinson showmanship and swagger. Overall, a perfect choice to close an album that improves upon their fine debut album When Worlds Collide in every way, from melodies, to songwriting to the vocals, Sinbreed have a lot to be proud of with Shadows and with the right amount of label support and the right tour, big things could be in store!

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