SHADOWQUEEN – Don’t Tell [European version] (2013)
The Real One : Full no cuts
Hailing from Down Under, SHADOWQUEEN was formed around 2010 in Melbourne by female singer Robbi Zana (also bass & keyboards) and guitarist Si Hopman.
Intended to create a powerful mix of classic Hard blended with melodic sensibility without losing the attack of a live band, they opted for the trio-format, only including drummer Alex Deegan into the combo.
ShadowQueen debut “Don’t Tell Me” was released by themselves two months ago in Oceania, and now the band has signed a deal with a French label to re-pack (new artwork) the CD and made it available all over the world.
ShadowQueen’s style is inspired by classic female-fronted classic Hard Rock acts, with a modern approach and melodies sometimes close to rock&pop or more bluesy Melodic Rock. The music is focused in a powerhouse delivery, but all is quite polished and controlled, giving breath to smoothly arise the melodies.
There’s some hot guitar riffs, rounded bass lines and pounding drums drawing the songs, but the star in ShadowQueen are Robbi’s vocals.
She may not (yet) be in the league of one Ann Wilson, but man, what she pulls off here is surely very convincing. Melodic, and still able to carry all the songs with power and variation. Robbi has that kind of vocal colour that you love in an instant.
Musically, the trio adds some little twists to their modern bluesy Hard here and there, proving they can handle some less obvious rhythmic ideas with ease. Nothing all too fancy, but still noticeable and giving them even more identity.
Opener “Best Of Me” is driven by a groovy riff and smashing drums, and although the chorus is quite anthemic, the middle part of the song somehow reminds me early eighties Heart.
Title track “Don’t Tell” is more modern, pumped by a cracking bass and a catchy rhythm guitar. It’s hooky, with Robbi’s singing fluctuating between lascivious and gasp bringing to mind eighties Joan Jett.
“Any Another Day” goes for the groove again, followed by the harder “What You Want” featuring a clean yet heavy guitar work and in your face Lee Aaron styled vocals.
To add some variation, “Prelude To Silence” is a nice piano (performed by Robbi) intro to the next track “Silence”, an impressive darker rocker constructed over and unusual broken rhythm. The chorus is quite original as well, making this track one of the most interesting on the album.
“Karma” is the only ballad – more properly a slow tune – and it’s another captivating number. The guitar wraps you like a lullaby and the husky vocals (in the Melissa Etheridge style) are really spellbinding. Then in the chorus the song explodes with ferocity providing a great effect. Very good.
Then again the rocking attitude returns with “Bruised”, featuring one of the best guitar solos here. “Wake Up” is a straight eighties rocker in the Baby Animals vein with good melody, a bit simplistic but effective.
“Paint Your Face” is the more Melodic (Hard) Rock oriented track on offer, somehow musically reminding me Shakra, while Robbi’s sounds like Robin Beck on steroids. I like this.
For the end, ShadowQueen goes directly to the yugular with the dynamic “Get Off”, a punchy hard rocker on all cylinders with solid vocals in full power.
“Don’t Tell Me” is an impressive debut for “Shadowqueen”, a female fronted Hard Rock band rich in musicality and attitude.
A very good vocalist and solid songs are a pretty fine starting point for anybody, especially if it grooves and rocks hard like Shadowqueen does here in only 38 minutes.
Well produced, hard hitting but clean and polished, “Don’t Tell Me” is a truly enjoyable album packed with kickin’, effective cuts to quench your thirst of good Female Fronted Hard Rock.
Robbi Zana – Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Si Hopman – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Alex Deegan – Drums
BUY IT !