Steve Walsh – Shadowman

Steve Walsh – Shadowman
Frontiers Records/Atenzia Records
Released 2005
Rating: 3.5/5


Steve Walsh was the co-founder of Kansas back in the 70?s.  Since 1974, he has ben featured on more than 30 albums.  Walsh left Kansas in 1980, after the AUDIOVISIONS album.  He released his first solo effort SCHEMER-DREAMER soonafter.  He joined the band Streets afterwards, before going solo in the mid-eighties after the group disbanded.

On this, his third solo album, the singer/keyboards/songwriter/producer worked with musicians like Joe Franco (Twisted Sister etc), Joel Kosche (Collective Soul) and David Ragsdale (ex-Kansas), with Symphony X mastermind Michael Romero taking charge of the orchestration on the songs ?Shadowman?, ?Hell Is Full Of Heroes? and ?After?.

Steve?s voice fits perfectly for this kind of music; he has a broad vocal range that does the material justice.  Behind the drums, Joe shows that he can play more than Twisted Sister; I guess that drumming in TS was pretty simple compared to this. He plays the progressive parts brilliantly, and impresses big time with his soulful drum play. Joel works double shift, handling both the guitar and bass. He triumphs when it comes to playing the more progressive parts as well as the harder guitar riffs.

The music on SHADOWMAN can best be described as progressive hardrock/rock; in other words, the songs are pretty long, with long instrumentals. In certain songs we can hear a string orchestra and the orchestra helps with creating a very progressive/symphonic feeling to the music. But for a progressive hardrock artist, I think Walsh?s material has a somewhat aggressive feel, compared to what most prog bands have.

SHADOWMAN contains 8 songs, clocking in at about 50 minutes.  All of the material is written by Steve. He also produced?and has done an excellent job; the production is positively majestic, and flawless. The focus of the production seems to be the vocals and varied guitar play, it would appear.

This kind of music needs a while to grow on you.  I have had the album for quite a while, and it definately gets better each time I listen to it. Some of the songs that rise above the rest are ?Rise,? ?Shadowman,? and ?Hell Is Full Of Heroes.?

This album is jammed with everything you want and can expect by a prog hardrock/rock album: well played music, skilled musicians, great material and a stunning production. The only minor things is, as always, the cover that doesn?t reflect the slightest what the album is about. A cover gives you the first impression of an album and that?s something this seems to have forgotten.

If you?re already a Steve Walsh fan I think you should invest in this; prog hardrock/rock fans should also take note.

Steve Walsh ? lead vocals, keyboards
Joe Franco ? drums
Joel Kosche ? guitar, bass
David Ragsdale ? violin on track 7
Michael Romeo ? giga symphony on track 2,6, 7
Matt Still ? percussion on track 5

More info about the band:

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Hell Is Full Of Heroes
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