Shadowside's style can be described as traditional metal with some power metal and thrash influences. Dani Nolden doesn't have the prototypical power metal voice, but the music is melodic and crunchy in the power metal vein with plenty of guitars. The band also injects modern metal elements into their sound. There are influences of everybody from Metallica to Disturbed.
Inner Monster Out kicks off with “Gag Order,” a decent enough song, but not one of the album's stronger efforts. “Angels With Horns” would have made a better opening track. It's potent and also very melodic with a lot of great guitar work and a diverse and powerful vocal performance from Nolden. Speaking of the guitar, I really like Raphael Mattos' guitar tone on this CD. It's thick and makes for some meaty riffs (that's what she said!) He also has some nice solos throughout.
The stars come out for the title track. Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork), Niklas Isfeldt (Dream Evil) and Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) all make guest appearances. It was an interesting decision to have everybody on one track instead of separating them, but it works. There's a ton of diversity without being too busy. Melodic singing, harmonies and harsh vocals are all utilized effectively.
Nolden's vocals are impressive on Inner Monster Out. She has a decent range in terms of the notes she can hit, but a huge range in terms of delivery. Many different emotions, dynamics and textures are used. Whether she's singing fast and angry on the thrashy songs, or more technically on the straight ahead metal songs, Nolden is always compelling.
Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, Evergrey, Dimmu Borgir) did a really good job on the production of Inner Monster Out. It's really punchy, but not too glossy or sterile. The mix is also good, and it's nice to actually hear the bass. Shadowside may not be a known quantity in North America (yet), but their brand of bombastic and catchy metal makes them worth checking out.
(released August 30, 2011 on SHP Records)