• 9/10
    DSG (DAVID SHANKLE GROUP) - Hellborn - 9/10


Magic Circle Music
Release Date: July 6, 2007

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

The abbreviated band name of “DSG” might inspire some recollections of the Michael Schenker Group (i.e., MSG). The only similarities between MSG and DSG, other then the three letter abbreviation, is that both bands have great guitarists. DSG is actually an abbreviation for the David Shankle Group. Chicagoan (Chicago, Illinois, USA) David Shankle himself is the guitarist of this band and many might recognize his name as being the former guitarist for Manowar, joining that band around 1988. Shankle managed to record one album with Manowar, entitled The Triumph Of Steel before departing in 1994. Shankle recorded one “solo” album in 2003 under the DSG title (Ashes To Ashes) and since then fans haven’t heard much from him … until now!

2007 sees Shankle returning with a vengeful fury with his latest, soon-to-be-classic entitled Hellborn. They say you can’t always judge a book by its cover, and those words ring very true here. As you look at the title, cover artwork, and some of the song titles (e.g., “Bleeding Hell,” “Left To Die,” “Tyrant,” “Cold And Diseased,” etc.) you might be left feeling this is a Doom or Black Metal release. Nothing could be further from the truth because what Hellborn delivers is thirteen tracks of aggressive Speed Metal, laden lightly with a masterful touch of melody and plenty of Shred guitar to keep a true Metal fan happy!

From the opening notes of album opener “Asylum God,” the band’s sound and vibe is incredible. Shankle’s compressed guitar rhythm sound creates a massive wall of buzz saw sound that hits with all the musical impact of say Boston’s debut sound. Shankle also has a great band complementing this sound, especially vocalist Hirschauer whom seems to be a perfect fit. Hirschauer’s voice has a touch of melody when needed and is not accompanied by any of those “cookie monster” vocals. The rhythm section of Kylloe and Sabathne is massive and fluid throughout as the band reaches musical heights akin to classic Helloween. Shankle’s lead playing is in the purest sense a shredding style sounding reminiscent in style to his local homeboy Michael Angelo Batio. One of the most impressive things about Shankle on this disc is his masterful restraint in not investing into long, overdrawn, tedious moments of self-indulgence on lead guitar. Shankle manages to dive in with shred leads that garner attention — always leaving you wanting for more. Another endearing quality is that each song is different enough in the riffing category that the album is far from sounding tedious and redundant after plowing through all thirteen tracks.

All enclosed tracks rock and the closest thing to a ballad is the track “When Is It Wicked,” which opens with an acoustical guitar line, but kicks in heavy like classic, moody Black Sabbath. The surprise track and undisputed fan favorite of all guitar enthusiasts will undoubtedly be the track entitled “The Voyage,” which is tagged with the subtitle “Instrumental Shredfest.” This instrumental track not only features Shankle’s flying digits but also other Chicago shredders in T.D. Clark and Michael Angelo Batio, as well as Joe Stump!!! Amongst it all, the rhythm section of Kylloe and Sabathne seem to have no trouble keeping up.

Bottom line, if you’re a fan of Shred guitar and traditional Speed Metal, then you need look no further for one of the must buys of 2007! This one is full of fast riffs, fast picking, fast drum work, comfortable vocals, and most importantly entertaining songwriting — all in one package!!! Definitely a must have for 2007 for any shred lover!

David Shankle – Guitars
Dennis Hirschauer – Vocals
Jeff Kylloe – Bass
Brad Sabathne – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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