Album Review: Transvaal Diamond Syndicate – The Shadow (2015 EP)

Transvaal Diamond Syndicate (TDS) have dropped an EP you definitely need in your life. The Shadow is a 6 track blues / roots album that is channeling some 70’s Deep Purple vibes. If you haven’t heard TDS before you are going to get a pleasant surprise with a release full of riffs that are going to melt your skin and vocals that will be stuck in your head for weeks.

Opening track “The River” is my favourite, as it has a great message behind the lyrics. This song is about domestic abuse,  while its music video (which was premiered on the AU) is based on a true story about a sheriff kidnapping a woman and selling her down the river to different men as a slave. In this song it has a female back up singer , which is a refreshing sound in itself among a male dominated scene. The track is the only song to be released for this EP so far and currently has three top 10 spots on the AMRAP Regional Charts in its first 3 weeks of its release. Opening the song is a funky base that will trigger your brain to start tapping your feet and nodding your head. I think more bands like TDS need to implement female vocals.

The third song ‘Easily’ has great depth and you can easily hear it in the opening section of the song. With a slow opening into a deep melodic vocals that are easily to follow. I’ve noticed with some hard rock / blues bands the vocals are often overpowered by the guitars. This is not the case with ‘Easily’ as the guitar track and drums is perfecting mixed in with the vocals. This is one of the key reasons I think ‘The Shadow’ will be of the best blues / rock releases this year.

The final track on  this EP is called ‘Instro del Mundo’ and it is an epic instrumental song. Imagine an Electric Guitar in the blue corner in a boxing ring and a bass guitar in the red corner. The intro to this song has the electric guitar and bass guitar essentially taking blows at each other which explodes into an all out brawl, with brain sizzling riffs, epic drum solos and the funkiest baseline you can imagine.

Fourth track ‘Thicker Than Water’ is a shoe in for second favourite off this release with catchy chorus you can just tell it would be an awesome song to hear live. Rocking the male and female vocals again goes down as a treat with a hint of folk rock in the mix with blues sounds incredible. This track is more laid back and relaxed. A kind of song you’d want to sip a beer too and enjoy on a Sunday afternoon. The keyboard plays a huge role in this song, even though it is in the background behind the guitar tracking it is perfectly subtle and really works with the general vibe of the song.

I’ve seen TDS live and I can safely say they have perfectly reproduced the energy of their live shows into this EP. This release is the first half of two EP’s are released by TDS late this year. Wrapping up this EP is one of the best releases by a blues-rock band I have heard this year and I can’t wait for the second EP.

Review Score: 8.0 out of 10

The Shadow is available now on iTunes. Full double EP set due for release early 2016.

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