Shadowsphere – Inferno

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Review by Jason Guest

Portugal’s Shadowsphere are yet another band that have been churning out their own brand of melodic thrash/death metal for a long time – ten years in this case – and have received scant attention outside of their home country. With a sound much in the vein of the Gothenburg sound, Shadowsphere issue their third album – and first in six years – through their own label, Sphere Music Media, an album that according to the press release, reflects the “musical growth and evolution” of their career into melodic death metal. As metalcore / melodeath (both being far from favourite genres of mine, it must be said) albums go, Inferno is a pretty damn solid album. With enough riffs and relentless (and frequently) tumbling drums to inflict serious injuries, the album is laced with more hooks than an overzealous butcher’s Frigidaire.

To create something original out of a genre that many are bashing the crap out of is always going to be a challenge and Shadowsphere manage to push beyond cliché and the predictable and create something stimulating. This is manifested in the vocals of frontman Paulo Gonçalves who manages to take in the aggressive and tortured as well as the melodic and give himself a richer palette to draw from. Add to that the vocals of Patrícia Rodrigues (of ThanatoSchizO, another band from Portugal I suspect we may be hearing of any day now) that bring a gothic dimension to a few tracks that is as emotionally hefty as it is potent. As a band, Shadowsphere are as tight as they come, they know their strengths, and they know how to use them to their best effect. João Sousa’s bass and Emídio Ramos’ drums provide a firm foundation for the interplay between the two guitarists, Luis Miguel Goulão and Ricardo Trincheiras, their attention to the needs of the track being impressive as neither one strive to over- or out-play each other.

The band’s ability to wrest the sonic forms they desire from their instruments gives the an epic, grandiose and brutal feel to them as they cover a broad sonic spectrum that is always remarkable. With Inferno, Shadowsphere have taken their expansive knowledge of metal and its possibilities and constructed a multi-faceted and richly textured album that’s solid. Six years is a long time to wait for a new release but Inferno is the album that deserves to get them the recognition they deserve on a much wider scale than they have hitherto received.

7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Inferno (Intro)
  2. Within The Serpent’s Grasp
  3. Sworn Enemy
  4. Dead Behind My Eyes
  5. Suicide Reign Of Salvation
  6. Bullet Train
  7. The Hurt Locker
  8. Firewalker
  9. Gehenna
  10. Screaming Silence
  11. Alone At The End Of The World