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Shadow Soul

Netherlands Country of Origin: Netherlands

1. Litany Of The Weak
2. Serpents Of Fame
3. Caverns Of Fate
4. Defiance
5. The Age Of Hype
6. The Run
7. Opulent Disruption
8. Dark Emptiness

Review by Michael on April 3, 2024.

Two years after Slave Driver Dead Head (still one of the most underrated thrash bands in the whole universe and probably in all parallel universes) from the Netherlands offered a new EP called Shadow Soul with eight brand new tracks to celebrate their 35th band anniversary. To call this an EP is pretty hard though, considering how many bands released less than 30 minutes running time as a full-length album.

So here we go with a total running time of around 28 minutes and pretty much all catchiness and aggression in the songs. Not too much has changed in the style of the quartet but what is quite remarkable is that they found back to the groovy parts I missed a little bit on Slave Driver. A song like 'Serpents Of Fame' starts as a fantastic mid-tempo stomper with many simple yet effective riffs to bang along with and vocalist Ralph de Boer who is on board again since Slave Driver spits a lot of hatred into the microphone. In the ongoing process of the song the guys pick up the pace and so the serpent reminds pretty much of Dark Angel. But not DA only are a source of inspiration but also old Kreator like in 'The Age Of Hype' (which also was the first single from the EP) clearly shows. The guitar leads sound very much like the Germans did back on their albums up to “Extreme Aggression” and of course there are some similarities in Ralphs high vocals, too. When you listen to his other band, Bodyfarm, you couldn't guess that this is the same person because his vocals sound so so much different in both bands. With 'Defiance' and 'Dark Emptiness' there are also two short instrumental tracks on the album. While 'Defiance' is a quite fast and catchy introduction for 'The Age Of Hype' with some riot samples in the background, 'Dark Emptiness' is the outro for 'Shadow Soul' so to speak. This one turned out pretty much atmospheric and very different from the usual style Dead Head play. Maybe you pick up some acoustic stuff from “The New Order” by Testament and then you get what I mean. The other tracks I didn't mention in detail are also kept very thrashy and much more accessible than some of the stuff on Slave Driver. If I had to compare it to some previous Dead Head stuff, I would day it is like Haatland which is my second favorite Dead Head album after the fantastic Dream Deceiver.

So, let's celebrate the 35th anniversary of the very likable Dutch guys by listening to this album and (because it is legal to smoke weed in the Netherlands) maybe do it while smoking some pot like the mummy on the cover does. But only if you were born when Kill Division was released already please!

Rating: 9 out of 10 shadow souls