Shadows – Into the Nightmare
Reviewed: August 2022
Released: 2022, Sentient Ruin Laboratories
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
We truly live in amazing times when a demo like INTO THE NIGHTMARE sounds as polished and creatively thought out as anything you’d expect to hear from a proper label. The initial offering from Chile’s Shadows is a brief but sincerely impressive collection of occult tinged traditional metal that carries the spirit of everything from Mercyful Fate to Judas Priest, but without sounding at all hacky or retro. Originally released on cassette last year but recently re-issued and re-packaged by Sentient Ruin Laboratories for a much larger audience, Shadows is the kind of passion project that makes you remember why heavy metal rules.
INTO THE NIGHTMARE is the kind of buried treasure that a younger version of me would’ve marveled at after digging through the import bin at my local record store. The new album art with its gothic framing and spooky specter is a throwback to a time when a record’s cover was all of the marketing you needed to plunk down a few bucks and run home to throw it on your turntable. But the tunes? Even better than the album art could’ve led you to imagine. There’s definitely a classic 80’s metal angle to these tunes, but proto-speed metal vibe of “Forgotten Rites” and anthemic (almost W.A.S.P. like?) opener “The Ripper” band leader John Shades clearly crafted these tunes with love and respect for that era, and their quality is undeniable. “Dream Paralysis” is a short interlude that leads into the closing title track, which honestly reminded me of an early/less annoying version of Ghost with some King Diamond-esque atmosphere (both comparisons intended as being complimentary). And then INTO THE NIGHTMARE is over, but ready for you start it over for just one more spin (or another two or three).
I’m seriously chomping at the bit to hear more from Shadows. Hopefully the good folks at Sentient Ruin feel the same way and have a plan for what comes next, because INTO THE NIGHTMARE is just too promising of a demo not to merit a proper full length.