All things considered, one could easily think that a studio solo album from multi-instrumentalist Snowy Shaw is long overdue. It’s basically against all odds that there hasn’t been one yet when you keep in mind how active the white-haired Swede is.
When you look at Shaw’s track record since he appeared on the scene in 1989 as the replacement for Mikkey Dee on the drum stool in the King Diamond band, there is little doubt that the guy lives, breathes and farts metal. And it’s not like it’s just one type or genre of metal. No, no, we’re talking everything from speed, thrash, glam and symphonic to black. Is there in fact anyone more metal than Snowy? Hard to say, but if I’m to trust the promo letter, which came along with the album, Mr. Shaw is betting everything on this. This is the end of being part of other bands, this is a full-on bet on the solo career.
Having given White Is The New Black a few spins, I’m convinced that the drummer/guitarist/bassist/keyboardist/singer is onto something that just might work.
As most of you would have figured, Snowy Shaw isn’t your regular bloke. No, the thing about this debut album is that it is, in fact – wait for it – the best-of album that he’ll make years from now. Yeah, it sounds weird, but why does it make sense? Because (naturally) Shaw has six albums laid out already, and White Is The New Black consists of two songs that represent the style of each of those six (future) albums. Looney. I like it.
What I also like is that the album certainly also shows us that Snowy is a man who refuses to be caged in one particular genre and that he allows his past to be reflected in what he does. He’s certainly a guy who’s got a diverse taste, which is a wonderful thing.
When I listen across the heavy soundscape that makes up White Is The New Black, there are a multitude of references and points of inspiration. Everything from traditional heavy metal over German speed metal to Type O Negative, Rammstein, Venom, Black Sabbath, Priest and Cradle of Filth.
In my book, as diverse as they are, the sources of inspiration are aligned like start signs, and Shaw has a perfect understanding of putting together tunes. The only two songs that fail to impress me are ‘Evil Twin’ and ‘Family Feud’ towards the end of the album – they aren’t bad, but they do tend to be filler material for me – however, that’s all I can complain about.
In sum: A great album by a great musician and a highly recommended effort.
I can’t wait to hear the albums that’ll form the basis for this best-of! 😀
02. March of the Black Dwarfs
06. Evil in Disgraceland
07. It's Getting Dark
09. My Religion
10. Evil Twin
11. Family Feud
12. Gothicburg Bridge - It's My Destiny
Playing Time: 53 minutes
Snowy Shaw - voice, guitars, bass, drums, keyboards