It's been six years since the last album from UK AOR super group SHADOWMAN, but they're back 2017 with their fifth studio album, "Secrets And Lies", released today. The band personnel remains stable with members from FM (Steve Overland, vocals), Heartland (Steve Harris, guitar), and Thunder (Chris Childs and Harry James, bass and drums respectively).
Original FM keyboardist Didge Digital drops by to add his synth magic.
Apart from the classic line-up, on this new effort Shadowman maintains its quality both in songwriting and production.
Basically and essentially, with "Secrets And Lies", you have five very talented veterans of the genre laying down some genuine and creative AOR / melodic rock. It's merely a fusion of their respective personal and professional experience from their respective bands.
Breaking this down a little more, Shadowman delivers the AOR / Melodic Rock essentials. Overland sings melodic and smooth, with a soulful sometimes bluesy delivery. He's backed up by harmonious vocal arrangements, mostly done by himself.
Melody and harmony, rhythm and groove, envelope every arrangement whether by those vocals, the guitar lines, or the touch of keyboard accent and atmosphere. The songs also turn on catchy hooks in composition, often the chorus, largely the melody. All these things are punctuated by Harris's solid and spicy straight up hard rock guitar solos.
In other words, it's the perfect storm of Melodic Rock punch and AOR sensitiveness for Shadowman and listeners.
'Gravity' and 'Atomatic' are in the vein of the very first Shadowman record, with that kind of 2000's AOR atmosphere that works so well for the band.
There's catchy rockers like 'Contagious', title track 'Secrets & Lies', the heavier 'No Smoke Without Fire', and the groovy 'Good Times Bad Times'. A song like 'Be True To Yourself' is an arena ready anthem, crunchy in the guitar line and soaring vocals.
Shadowman lightens up for some ballads, as expected, with the effective 'Face The Night' and 'Put It All On Love'. The former has a smooth vocal arrangement, the latter a lovely twist of synths from Didge Digital.
"Secrets And Lies" is an album that brings together the sound and experience from all Shadowman's members, that being a mix of FM, Heartland and in lesser degree, Thunder.
In short, classy British Melodic Rock / AOR with an '80s feel and an updated production, handled by Morris / Overland. and mixed and mastered by the great Martin Kronlund (Lover Under Cover, Gypsy Rose).
01 - Gravity
02 - Automatic
03 - Put It All on Love
04 - Contagious
05 - Broken Bones
06 - Best Things in Life
07 - Face the Night
08 - No Smoke Without Fire
09 - Good Times, Bad Times
10 - Be True to Yourself
11 - Secrets and Lies
12 - Stand up and Be Counted
Steve Overland (vocals)
Steve Morris (guitar, keyboards)
Chris Childs (bass)
Harry James (drums)
Didge Digital (synths, keyboards)
BUY IT !