I have been a fan of Mark Boals and his amazing vocals for several years now. So when he and beastly guitarist Ölaf Thorson got together for their new band SHINING BLACK, believe me I was all in. The history, the how, or the why, they don’t matter at this point. What does matter is that these two men joined forces and recorded some killer melodic metal, and that’s all you should concern yourselves with. Opening track “The House of the Fallen Souls” is a statement if ever I heard one, and “Boogeyman” is a song that just begs to be played live. “My Life” is off to the races at times, with Thorson going totally fucking nuts with his guitar soloing. Jeezus Fucking Christ, what was THAT? Simply awesome!
“A Sad Song” is a sullen ballad, with Boals executing a beautiful vocal that elevates the tune to another level. At first I was like, “Oh yay, another slow song,” right? But once shit got started I was like, “Oh, Hell yeah!” when it came to this one. I think so many fans are gonna gravitate to this song and be happy when they hear it again and again. And don’t look now but here comes “Just Another Day.” The absolute best hook and chorus on this whole fucking disc happens during this song, and I am here for it!! I could listen to this song over and over again, and I know you feel the same way, don’t you?
“Where Are Your Gods” is another favorite that totally channels DIO’S “We Rock”, but it does so in a very tasteful way. It is an aggressive rocker that any and all of us would bang our heads to hard while throwing up the Devil Horns, who are we kidding? “The Carousel” is without a doubt the song that showcases the other band members’ talents. Keyboardist Oleg Smirnoff, bassist Nik Mazzucconi, and drummer Matt Peruzzi truly come into their own while guiding the ship the other two guys are on with this one. Hey, I feel it’s important to give guys in a band their due, but that’s just me.
Closing us out is “We Fall”, a melodic and anthemic track, and quite frankly a perfect way to end things. Boals is outstanding vocally, and the guitar work of Thorsen is very tasty. The entire band is made up of excellent players and they definitely showcase that here. SHINING BLACK is pretty damn awesome, people. What sucks is that many traditional metalheads might not even know who they are yet. And to me that’s a problem. So go listen and purchase your copy of their debut now, yeah? See what Heavy Metal and Hard Rock can do for you. Guess what? This record kicks ass and it’s been out for a week now on Frontiers Music.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “We Fall”, “Just Another Day”, “Where Are Your Gods”, “The House of the Fallen Souls”, “A Sad Song”