Power metal and 80's thrash combine full-force on the debut from Shadow Demon titled Grimoire of Ruin. From the awesome cover art courtesy of Mattias Noren, to the dark lyrical and musical imagery, Grimoire of Ruin gives off an early ambience that lasts through the final notes. Hints of Savatage (lead singer Blaine Hammond sounds a lot like Zak Stevens), Testament, and Iced Earth abound here, as the band combines powerful vocals, crushing guitar riffs, forceful rhythms, and a menacing yet melodic attitude.
The guitar work of Ryan Gallagher and Jeff Helm is very impressive, with no shortage of crunchy riffs and Gallagher's tasty lead work. "Drums of War" shows both axe-men to be in fine form, with Gallagher ripping into a few lightning bursts of shred-o-rama. Frontman Hammond has a great voice, and he soars through the galloping "A Dream of Dreams", a real Savatage-influenced number, as well as the speedy thrash of "The Dark Citadel: Part 1 (The Shifter)". Fans of European power metal bands like Hammerfall and Blind Guardian will love "...And the Meek", while "Brave Murder Day" has a certain early Iron Maiden feel to it with the rumbling rhythms and harmony guitar work. Shades of Black Sabbath styled doom can be heard on the massive guitar riffs of "Sea of Oblivion", a darker piece that also has some progressive moments to it, with Hammond's vocals sounding a tad like Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian.
The only thing really holding the band back here is a slightly muddy production, but otherwise this is tasty classic styled metal. Shadow Demon should have an exciting ride ahead of them if they stay the course.
1. A Dream of Dreams
2. Drums of War
3. The Dark Citadel: Part 1 (The Shifter)
4. ...And the Meek
5. Brave Murder Day
6. Waking Among the Dead
7. Umbris Mortis
8. Sea of Oblivion