After showing signs of promise on 2014’s Infinite Power, ShadowStrike has unleashed a proper full-length album five years later with Legends of Human Spirit. The Long Island group keeps to their established power metal style with a slew of post-Dragonforce guitar sweeps and over the top vocals on display, but the presentation is exponentially more professional this time around. The incorporation of Luca Turilli-inspired orchestral sounds in lieu of the EP’s prominent chiptune is enough to indicate this change.
Either way, the album’s musicianship is incredibly tight and technical. The drums set up an ultra-fast foundation, consisting almost entirely of classic double bass blasts, and the guitars put forth equally speedy chugs and flamboyant solo work. The vocals are also executed well, reminding me of Lorenguard as they pull off some higher notes despite coming from a more baritone range. The keyboards may ultimately be the band’s most powerful asset as several songs are shaped by the extended classical excursions and topped by squeaky effects.
Alas, an album consisting exclusively of fast-paced numbers over an hour’s runtime can make for a rather exhausting listen. There’s certainly room for variation as songs like “Fields of Valour” and “Where Sleeping Gods Await” make the most of their classical segments while “The Fiery Seas and Icy Winds” and “A Dream of Stars” are blazing feelgood anthems that would make Stratovarius proud. The writing has clear intent, the tracks would just be more effective with either a shorter runtime or more moments to breathe.
While ShadowStrike’s first full-length album may be bloated in spots, the runtime never blunts the bursts of rapid-fire power metal. Legends of Human Spirit adheres to many of the genre’s conventions, but the mix of intricate structures and energetic musicianship will make it an instant winner for that audience. If the jump between this album and their 2014 EP is anything to go by, the band definitely has what it takes to develop their sound even further.
“The Fiery Seas and Icy Winds”
“Where Sleeping Gods Await”
“Voice in the Night”
“A Dream of Stars”