Shadow Shadow

Forget the internet, low airfare rates, fibre optics and video conferencing. The true sign that the world is (theoretically) getting smaller and the global community is growing more vast is when the Japanese start dipping their fingers into the new wave of Swedish death metal. With a female singer, no less! There are only two ways this could have gone, and thankfully for everyone involved, Shadow don't embarrass themselves like the time the Portuguese discovered hardcore. Being that the band play melodic death metal, you pretty much know what you're in for, but there are a couple of deciding factors. One, Tokiko Shimamoto's tattered vocal chords, which not only belie her petite frame and gender but also every misconception you've ever had about Japanese women. Two, Shadow contains some of the most memorable and intelligent soloing I've ever heard from this genre in ages, easily wiping the floor with In Flames without breaking a sweat. (Century Media)