Friday, August 27, 2010

Shadow Warriors - Power of the Ninja Sword

 Stupidly fun

You can thank this band for convincing me to give Dragonforce another chance, so in a way I fucking hate Shadow Warriors, but both bands are somewhat of a guilty pleasure for me now. On general principle, I try not to hold certain bands or albums in the shadow of other bands or albums, but there is really only one way to review an album such as this, and that is to compare it to its father, the media child, Dragonforce.

First thing's first, the production is atrocious, the polar opposite of the supremely polished Dragonforce. Theart's voice sounds horribly compressed the whole time, robbing it of any power it otherwise would have. The drum machine has one of the lamest and most flaccid and powerless snare I've ever heard, the crash cymbal completely overpowers everything, it's just a terrible sounding program. The bass is nearly inaudible throughout the record and the guitar has a weak distortion tone. But through all this, it reminds me of some of the music from the Sonic the Hedgehog games, which is totally fucking awesome. So despite of (or perhaps because of) the production, it has a certain innocent charm that makes this a fun listen.

The other reviewer has used the word "cute" to describe the music, and it's surprisingly spot on. While the cheese factor in Dragonforce makes the music nearly unbearable at times, here it gives the music a lighthearted tone that makes it incredibly fun, despite the lame and generic songwriting. And yet, one of the aspects of Dragonforce's music that always makes me reluctantly come back is the fact that it is extremely and shamelessly over-the-top. This quality is ever present in Shadow Warriors, with big sweeping choruses and shredding solo sections. Again, the main thing that makes this the antithesis of Dragonforce is how incredibly restrained and scaled back this is, this means that the solo sections are no longer 70% of the song, but just a little fun section that Totman decides to doodle around in as opposed to the five minute long circle jerks he and Li now share. Hell, there's actually even some decent melodies scattered throughout.

But because the demo is restrained, and because of who this really is, it just seems watered down and almost uninspired. It's obvious Theart and Totman are passionate about their joke band here, but it's a flaccid and tepid shell of their main band, which this obviously sounds a lot like. Shadow Warriors is just as ridiculous as Dragonforce is, but it's just a much more watered down and easily digestible version of the cheese masters. Power of the Ninja Sword is a lighthearted and fun demo, but there is little meat to the child. It's good for a laugh every now and then, but not much else. Cheesy as hell, but a good time nonetheless.

RATING - 80%

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