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Shaft - Tunnel Vision

Tunnel Vision
by Emily Schneider at 26 April 2021, 10:45 AM

SHAFT was a Prog Power Metal band from Pennsylvania, USA. The band formed in mid-1980s and played around the east coast as a cover band. They recorded their 6 song EP “Tunnel Vision” in 1988 and it didn't take off like it should have. The band split a year later and it seemed this album was buried in the pages of should-have beens for decades to follow. Somehow, the album was rediscovered in 2020 and remastered by some folks at Heaven & Hell Records for a limited 2021 release. Their sound is Heavy Metal in flawless 1980s form; a 6 song demo as solid as this one is no slouch.

Bloody Mary” starts the album out with a spooky theme. There's this 'staring into the mirror' feel to the way the song is mixed then the haunting vocal style paints the story well. The riffs are totally HEIR APPARENT inspired too. “The First One (The Willing)” opens with a groovy bass line.  The rest of the song is pure Heavy Metal, including some tasty shred in the guitar solo. “Creeping Grey” has a very fitting title. There's a lurking, slinky feel to the melody and riffs. This song of retrospection does have a veil of remorse over the galloping paced drums and within the lyrics as well.

Time for the Show” takes on more of a typical late 80s Melodic Metal feel. You can imagine studded leather in a smoky dive bar while banging your head to this track.  “Walking Thru the Night” is a snare heavy track with strangely isolated vocals. The mixing on this one is a bit rough, probably the most 'demo recorded in a basement' feeling song so far. The album closes with the title track “Tunnel Vision”. The cool acoustic guitar intro leads into a surprisingly Prog track. There are a few time signature changes in this one with some cool interludes and some Power Metal styled solos too.

All and all, “Tunnel Vision” is an impressive 8 song demo. There's a dash of several different Metal subgenres, without it feeling overwhelming or forced. The guitar work was nice and speedy with some great moments of pure shred. The vocals were reminiscent of Michael Kiske at times too. Essentially, SHAFT is a short-lived band that didn't last long enough to breakout, although I think they easily could have with a full length album or two.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Bloody Mary
2. The First One (the Willing)
3. Creeping Grey
4. Time for the Show
5. Walking Thru the Night
6. Tunnel Vision
Jonny K – vocals
Larry Werner - guitar
Dennis Hower - bass
Scott Williams - drums
Record Label: Heaven and Hell Records


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