NIGHTSHADOW – Strike Them Dead

NIGHTSHADOW - Strike Them Dead
  • 8.2/10
    NIGHTSHADOW - Strike Them Dead - 8.2/10


Release date: May 7, 2021

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Reviving the German blend of Thrash and Speed Metal, Nightshadow’s first full-length album Strike Them Dead is an ode to the Power Metal gods of yesterday with a take that is both vintage and fresh at the same time. The American band hailing from the San Diego area is no stranger to the stage, having opened for big names like Hammerfall, Angra, Adrenaline Mob, Geoff Tate’s Operation: Mindcrime, and more.

A Speed Metal Diamond in The Rough

This album is a diamond in the rough. The band’s sound is aggressive and furious, yet distinctively Power Metal without falling into most of the gene’s clichés. While sounding a little bit closer to a good demo than a full-fledged record, the songs on display make the band’s potential extremely clear. If you can look through the barely missed beats, overambitious drum fills, and slightly out-of-tune and occasionally monotonic vocal lines, you will find a lot to like in Strike Them Dead.

An unorthodox approach to modern Metal Production

The sound of the production, handled by J-F Dagenais, is decently competent, though it lacks the polish of more recent Power Metal records. One can only guess the band wanted to recreate the original feel of the albums they pay such sincere homage to like Walls of Jerico and Follow the Blind. Back then, everything was recorded to tape – Pro Tools and DAWs were not available, or at least not in widespread use in studios, and performances had to be spot on; editing was a painful process involving razor blades and sticky tape. A flawed, but honorable ambition.

The trouble is, we have come a long way from those days, and of all genres, maybe Metal is the most guilty of always trying to augment performances to be super-humanly tight, on-tempo, and synchronized. As modern metal listeners, we have come to expect things to be properly lined up, hitting at the same time, and sounding big. It’s the hallmark of any Metal production after 1995, next to duct-tape waveforms as the result of mastering to insane loudness levels.

Nightshadow Band Promo


While the whole band shows great competency in the twin guitar work handled by Nick Harrington and Danny Fang and Chris Bader’s competent bass lines, Brian Dell’s vocals are a bit of an acquired taste. His tone is great, with a slight resemblance to Piet Sielck (Iron Savior) in his lower range, and Matthew Barlow (early Iced Earth). Maybe due to the at times simplistic vocal lines, or passages with poor intonation that could have easily been corrected using modern studio tools, the vocal work stands out as the weak link in the chain. It’s not like he doesn’t have the range or the technique, he definitely does, but the vocal lines and some of the captured performances seem not to make his singing justice. This probably has to do with the decision to record the vocals at a studio rather than at home as was the case with guitars and bass.

Drummer Sean Woodman’s performances on Strike Them Dead are another point of conflict. His drumming is really active and energetic, much resembling Blind Guardian’s Thomen Stauch, but going a bit further. His style is as ambitious as it is powerful. While it does come with great pay-off when it does work, more often than not it fails to land, leading to missed beats and dropped energy in the songs. He would do well to play it a little bit safer, supporting the songs a little bit better. Drums were recorded in the studio and seem not to have been edited at all. It is likely that the added time pressure has played a role.

NIGHTSHADOW – Strike Them Dead – Album breakdown

The 10 songs presented by the band, which include new tracks and re-recordings of songs from their debut 2017 self-titled EP, range from full-on speed metal assaults like in “Ripper” that evoke classics like “Ride The Sky” or “Valhalla”, to a more modern take on Power Metal that draws inspiration from Hammerfall and Iron Maiden like the album homonymous Power Metal hymn “Strike Them Dead”, verging Melodic Death Metal at times as in “Witch Hunt”. Lyrics revolve around Fantasy themes, drawn from games, tabletop RPGs, literature, and more.

Other album highlights include the video-game inspired “Children of the Night”, with lyrics referencing Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and “Mistress of the Pit”, a more traditional Heavy Metal tune.


Nightshadow has the potential to earn their place next to current giants of the genre like Powerwolf or Sabaton. Strike Them Dead shows abundant promise and we can’t wait to see a release from the band with a more modern production, maybe augmented by the mainstay producers of the genre in Germany, Finland, or Sweden. Nuclear Blast and other labels invested in Power Metal should peel their eyes though, this is a great unsigned band with plentiful potential.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable Speed Metal record that raises the early 80s German sound back from the dead and makes it their own. Recommended for fans of early Blind Guardian, early Helloween, Iron Savior, Gamma Ray, Kreator and speed metal in general.


  • Brian Dell – Vocals
  • Nick Harrington – Guitar
  • Danny Fang – Guitar
  • Chris Bader – Bass
  • Sean Woodman – Drums

Nightshadow - Band Promo


  1. Legend (4:19)
  2. Witch Queen (4:36)
  3. Ripper (5:40)
  4. Love & Vengeance (7:11)
  5. Children of the Night (5:23)
  6. False Truths (7:36)
  7. Strike Them Dead (5:32)
  8. Blood Penance (5:09)
  9. Storm Bringer (3:47)
  10. Mistress of the Pit (6:43)


  • Alex Reis

    Alex is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, born and raised in Curitiba, PR, Brazil, yet living in Antwerp, Belgium, since 2010. AC/DC was his first intro to Rock and Metal, but Metallica and Iron Maiden were the turning point for his love of the genre. Alex has played the guitar since he was 14, and has been an aspiring musician ever since.  Also serving as lead guitarist and vocalist for Belgian/Brazilian Hard Rock outfit SSC, Alex and co. have released a single a few years ago, but are yet to follow with a full-length  release that's been 20 years in the works. When Alex is not writing for MER or making music, he works at the Belgian tech scene, having served as CTO and other technical roles in numerous startups and organizations.

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