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[Review] Shadow Puncher

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Shadow Puncher is a death metal band coming from the metal nation of Norway. This is one of those underground one man bands that have probably gone under the radar for most listeners. Shadow Puncher having been recently signed to Nosral, I am sure that with whatever was released before is not going to be quite a match with this newly released self-titled ep. Perhaps a superficial judgement, seeing how I have not delved into older music, but it is easy to observe that the album artwork has improved a lot from being signed. Maybe this is an indication of the music quality shifting too, being a first time listener though the self-titled ep is my main first impression.

The band is labelled as death metal, is it exactly pure death metal? Well perhaps not, there are some vocals that can be called pig squeals here but structurally apart from that it is death metal. The production quality is decent, no signs of being raw except on the vocal recording quality – which isn’t a big deal. It isn’t Demon Hunter production exactly but it isn’t your typical bedroom one man black metal band production either. I think the main quality that is wrong with the production is that the music has quite a quantized sound. The guitars have been edited a lot to come across sounding almost too perfect or robotic, drums are programmed with little humanised feeling. I will say though the drum samples are at least tasteful and not overwhelming. There is a bass presence which isn’t bad although still quantized. The guitar work has some well written solos or leads. I think that if too much quantize doesn’t bother you too much, the release is enjoyable. The songs are written with defining factors that stand out; they have a promising progression and grow nicely. Speaking on writing ability alone, I’d say that Shadow Puncher is a good band that is worth listening to, to gain your own opinion of – but the music does miss out on a certain quality it could have gained from less mechanical perfection. Max Oelstoeren doesn’t lack the creativity; this band could have been easily comparable to Dominator Et Sanctum in some ways. Vocally, Oelstoeren holds up and doesn’t force it.

If it weren’t for the over edited sound, this album could have scored higher.

I would give this album 50 out of 100.

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