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Shadowman - 2004 Land Of The Living

ARTIST: Shadowman
ALBUM: Land Of The Living
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2004
SPONSOR: Escape Music


LINEUP: Steve Overland - vocals * Steve Morris - guitars * Chris Childs - bass * Harry James - drums * Mike Walsh - horns

TRACK LISTING: 01 Those Days Are Gone * 02 Medicine To Me * 03 Touched By An Angel * 04 Gypsy Heart * 05 Land Of The Living * 06 Shelter Me * 07 Count Me Out * 08 How Does It Feel * 09 Waiting For The Good Times * 10 Wild Waters * 11 Silver Lining

At long last, we have the collaboration between the two 'Steves' - Overland and Morris. Mostly everyone will know of the history of these two men: namely Wildlife and FM (UK) for the former, and Export and Heartland for the latter. To add fuel to the fire, we get the Thunder rhythm section of Childs and James, while Mike Walsh has a past with American melodic rockers Departure, plus the as yet unreleased Lec Zorn (is this ever gonna be released?). Though it's now 2004, the music displayed by Shadowman is not as modern as many other current releases, preferring instead to stick to a more fluid eighties 80's style. Imagine Paul Rodgers era Bad Company meeting Nelson or Tony Harnell's Morningwood project from a few years ago. The Paul Rodgers comparison is apt I feel, Overland would make an ideal replacement if Bad Company decide they want a new lead singer. of course, Overland and Bad Company go back a ways, his previous band Wildlife itself a Bad Company clone, especially with Simon Kirke and Mick Ralphs having been involved with the 80's era London based outfit.

The Songs
The 11 tracks on offer are a pleasant collection. Nothing outrageously heavy or bombastic, the material hitting sweet spots often through the CD. Opening up with 'Those Days Are Gone', it keeps close to the recent Heartland material as penned by Morris and partner-in-crime Chris Ousey. Reasonably fast paced, but it has a smooth delivery, particularly the rhythm guitar which has that trademark Boston flavour. Morris must be playing through some Tom Scholz Rockman effects then? Despite the name, 'Medicine To Me' is not as therapeutic as one would suggest. Not bad by any means, the track only comes to life on the chorus unfortunately. 'Touched By An Angel' is a throwback to the 70's/80's era, some nice lazy guitar and again is topped by another stellar chorus. 'Gypsy Heart' is an energetic piece, melodic, upbeat and driving with the (by now) ever reliable chorus sending this track into repeat play mode. Didn't really warm to the title track unfortunately. A song not quite hitting the right place, with those annoying parpy horns (sorry Mike!) being too prevalent. However, the semi-ballad 'Shelter Me' is excellent, a beautiful acoustic/electric track with a divine chorus that only a guy like Overland can deliver. The guitar solo is acoustic too, and for a moment I thought I was listening to Craig Chaquico's acoustic solo albums! 'Count Me Out' is another nice track, mildly appealing throughout, the jangly melodic guitars and the fluid bass playing from Childs a feature. The punchy delivery and bigger production on 'How Does It Feel' offers a slightly different feel from the material we've heard so far. This one's a winner I think! Mild aggression is the name of the game on 'Waiting For The Good Times'. One wonders whether this could've been a Heartland discard. The harder style plus the pulsing bass lines are a giveaway perhaps? On the other hand, the second ballad on the album 'Wild Waters' comes across instead like a gentle wash, rather than what the song-title would indicate. The album ends with the pleasing but somewhat mid-west sounding 'Silver Lining'. Especially those tinkly piano lines a la Bruce Hornsby or Corey Lerios. However it still has enough grunt to be declared a melodic rock tune, regardless.

In Summary
2004 gets off to a great start with this solid and dependable CD. Let's be clear, it's not FM or Heartland Part Two. It has enough of an identity to be different, and perhaps given time with a few more releases under their belt, develop their own sound to the point of being unique to anyone else. Worth a listen, and definitely worth some financial consideration (i.e: your wallet or Visa card).

Related Articles
Shadowman - 2004 Land Of The Living
Shadowman - 2008 Ghost In The Mirror
Shadowman - 2011 Watching Over You

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#1 | Jez on June 16 2008 04:05:06
Great to have the Mighty Mr.Overland back, and fine form he is in, perfectly showcasing his superb vocal ability. Ably backed by the Thunder boys and Heartlands Steve Morris, This set comprises 11 songs of very high quality. Check out opener 'Those Days Are Gone' for a taste of what's to come. Excellent.
#2 | jeffrey343 on October 01 2014 22:47:54
I discovered Shadowman this year thanks to Steve Overland's solo album and the two FM releases last year. I hadn't realized he had a few other projects over the years. This is a very nice album, one with a nice groove to it. All four (so far) of their albums are quite good, with the latest two having some pretty hard-rock moments.

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