Review: Screaming Shadows – Legacy of Stone
From The Vaults (November 11th 2021)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
Occasionally I will come across a band I am unfamiliar with, I will listen to an entire album from them, and then I will have no desire to hear that album again. Not because the musicianship is poor or the production is sub-par, but rather I feel like the album is missing a spark that makes it a sonically pleasing experience. It hits familiar metal tropes, but it feels like I’m listening to an album that I have been listening to for decades, minus the fond memories from the first time I heard it. That is exactly what happened when I listened to ‘Legacy of Stone‘, the new album from Screaming Shadows.
This is the fifth album from the band and their first in a decade. For those unfamiliar, they are a melodic metal band and features the guitar prowess of Francesco Marras, a current member of metal veterans Tygers of Pan Tang. Their sound immediately reminded me of German metal band The Unity. I have all the albums from that band and enjoy them, so this album should have worked for me. So what makes this album mediocre? For me it comes down to two issues, the singer and the choruses.
Lead singer Alessandro Marras is certainly proficient in what he does for the band, but something is missing, and I think it can be summed up in one word…passion. His delivery sounds reserved at times when he should be hitting the throttle. This is most evident in the choruses of many of the songs, which leads to my second critique.
On most songs, the verses are stronger than the choruses. I have a preference for soaring, melodic, catchy choruses. On this album, the verses blend into the chorus in a rather bland way. There’s no inflection in Alessandro’s vocals to denote the structural changes in the song. That lack of change in the song keeps the song in second gear. Sure, it’s certainly listenable, but in a background music sort of way.
A few tracks stand out. ‘Shake Your Blood’ has some spark to it. ‘Heaven and Hell’ is the best track on the album, with a chorus that stands out as Alessandro reaches for higher notes and brings some fire to the track.
I listened to this album for the first time on a long drive to my gym. I was looking for something to pump me up for my workout and predicted this would work. I found myself unenthralled and mentally drifting about other things while driving. When a great song hooks me, it pulls me out of that mental fog immediately and makes me pay attention and ultimately hit the rewind button to check it out again. It has happened a bunch of times to me the first time I heard some truly amazing albums. That did not happen once during my drive. I listened to the album several times after that…and still nothing.
It’s really a shame. I think this band is certainly capable of pulling off some really great tunes, but there’s a lack of fervor that most bands nail when trying to produce their best product. This feels like a band just going through the motions. Better songs and better delivery are needed if this band hopes to stand out amongst other bands hungry for an audience.