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Review of the Album Forever Chaos by Japanese Melodic Death Metal Band Shadow

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The album cover for Forever Chaos has an image of a half human and half monster. This looks like a sphinx even though it is not. Even better than the cover are the songs including Master of Impieties.

The album cover for Forever Chaos has an image of a half human and half monster. This looks like a sphinx even though it is not. Even better than the cover are the songs including Master of Impieties.

Forever Chaos Basic Details

Country of origin: Japan

Year released: 2008

Genre: Melodic death metal

The band was under contract with Spinefarm Records

Forever Chaos Album Song Listing

  1. Forever Chaos
  2. The Existence of Suffering
  3. Before True Light
  4. Within the Winter Silence
  5. The Orators
  6. Master of Impieties
  7. Wings of Flame
  8. My Apologies
  9. Shudders Hell
  10. Land of a Dream
  11. Black Magic (Slayer song)

An image of the CD Forever Chaos

osaka-japans-shadow-forever-chaos-2008-album-review

The Band Shadow and Their Musical Style

Shadow are a four member band from the city of Osaka. I know that most people would not think about Japan when it comes to heavy metal especially melodic death metal but these guys are seriously good! And the person doing all of the vocals is Tokiko Shimamoto. She does the growling vocal style just like former Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Gossow. Shadow released their 2nd album called Forever Chaos in 2008. They are on hold now but they were formed back in 1993, the same year that Japanese thrash metal band Ritual Carnage was formed. I found out about this band while looking through one of the catalogs for the record label Century Media several years ago. And because I am really fascinated by Japanese culture, this is a wonderful addition to my CD collection. I wrote about the difference between Kobe Japan’s Serpent and this band Shadow. Shadow uses lots of neoclassical elements in their songs.


Forever Chaos the Title Track

The lyrical themes are about topics such as war and human suffering. I know that that those kinds of themes wouldn’t enable me to give this album a 100 out of 100 points because this album isn’t flawless. Right from the opening of the album, the lead guitar work kicks in and you know that these guys are here to play and impress you. The vocals in the first song Forever Chaos sound guttural at first, similar to David Sanchez Gonzalez of Avulsed.

The song is basically about an evil spirit that can penetrate people’s minds and cause nightmares. The music certainly is not chaotic no matter what the album’s title may be.

Forever Chaos Analysis of the Songs Within the Winter Silence, Master of Impieties, Wings of a Flame, Shudders Hell, Land of a Dream

Within the Winter Silence has some harmonies that may remind some people of Iron Maiden. Master of Impieties has a terrific, catchy soft guitar part that will leave you very impressed. It is similar to the song Zombie Inc. on the 1999 album Colony by In Flames. The stellar songwriting continues with the seventh song called Wings of Flame as we see some very good guitar tapping that is also melodic. But the album drops off just a bit with the average song Shudders Hell. But this band rebounds and does a better job on the next song called Land of a Dream. The song starts out with some beautiful acoustic guitar before getting into an old fashioned Shadow style melodic song. The album concludes with a cover of Slayer’s Black Magic. It is a real shame that Shadow never really had commercial success even in Japan because they are very talented.

The band Shadow vs. the band Serpent

"Master of Impieties"

What Are The Strongest Songs from the Album Forever Chaos?

The strongest songs in this album are many including Master of Impieties and Wings of Flame and Land of a Dream as well as the first three songs which is more than half of the album. If this is truly Shadow’s last album as a band, this is a great way to call it a career. For those that are interested in checking out heavy metal from Japan, I recommend the band Serpent or the female fronted pop-metal band called BabyMetal.

"Wings of Flame"

How Good Is the Album Forever Chaos in 2019 and Beyond?

As we look back at the album Forever Chaos in 2019, the neoclassical element is evident in the title track as that part ends and seemingly out of nowhere, Tokiko Shimamoto uses a vocal style that we have not heard before and that is those low, guttural growls. The song speeds up just as quickly. If you are wondering whether Forever Chaos is better than the band’s self-titled album, the answer is most definitely a yes! Before True Light features an excellent lead section that sounds similar to what other neoclassical guitarists would have tried in their career. Forever Chaos is not a chaotic album in spite of what its title may suggest but an album full of well written songs in the neoclassical death metal genre.

Note: we are June 2020 and this writer is giving this album Forever Chaos another listen. It occurs to me that in spite of the album’s title there is nothing chaotic about this album and this album is a musical gem! That’s quite a strong statement as there are so many quality albums in the melodic death metal genre. An album that is melodic death metal from a band that is not even from Northern Europe has to be of such high quality so that it can be considered a musical gem. As of 2020, the status of the band Shadow is unknown but you can still listen to this band on YouTube or if you manage to buy one of the band’s CDs assuming it is still available. It is a real shame that there isn’t much information about this band from Osaka because they were really good! The section after the main growl by vocalist Tokiko in the song Master of Impieties shows the talent that this band had. What are other people saying about the album? One user on the website Metal Archives whose name is Dan Orozco says that “Tokiko still sounds as vicious and brutal as ever.”1

Footnote section

1 Dan Orozco, “Shadow is back!," Encyclopaedia Metallum The Metal Archives, November 27, 2008, https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/Shadow/Forever_Chaos/209437/

It is obvious that the vocals are pretty brutal but even so, she is not as good as Angela Gossow. Even so, she was more than a good fit for Shadow. The section that I refer to after the vocals in the song Master of Impieties is the beautifully written acoustic section that sounds like the old style of the band In Flames and it is a powerful part as well. You might be asking “is there anything wrong with this album?” Well, the vocals could have been more audible but other than that, there isn’t much to complain about with this Osaka based melodic death metal band. Land of a Dream starts out with a beautiful atmospheric part that only adds to the brilliance of this band.

Reference

Orozco, Dan. “Shadow Is Back!,” Encyclopaedia Metallum The Metal Archives, November 27, 2008, https://www.metal-archives.com/reviews/Shadow/Forever_Chaos/209437/

© 2016 Ara Vahanian