Two years after their debut album Dead Memories (review posted 25/04/2010), Belgian “Melodic Hard Rock” band (who actually play songs alternating between Grunge and more baladesque leanings) Shellcase returns with its sophomore album. I daresay that frontman and main composer Dave Varlet has seen another bit of bad luck, this time with the loss of long-time drummer and soulmate Filip Vinck, whom is now replaced by one Jan Charlier.
Although their new album is now under a different label, it is still distributed by major Universal, so at least at thàt point there's little changes to be expected. Changes, as far as I noticed, came only in the overall balance of the music, as far as heavy (Grunge) versus calmer (the balladesque) tracks are concerned, the balance now clearly hanging over to the calmer side, with some of the Grungy songs also including calmer parts. In fact, the band has called in the help of pianist/ keyboardist Bart Claus (on “Last Note” and “Esperanza” and cellist Seraphine Stragier (on “Esperanza”) in order to add an additional flavour to a couple of the songs. Also, there's a very nice duet with Shauni Rau on the album closing title track ballad.
Personally, I like both sides of the band, but in some ways the band's duality also deters me away from 'em somewhat. If the band would release its albums in two separate discs, one with the Grunge stuff, the other with the calmer material...that would be ideal, because one would be able to concentrate on either side, musically speaking, of the band. For samples of the album (and I guess also of the debut) check the “download” section at (www.) davevarlet.com (don't even bother to check the MySpace page mentioned in the debut album's review, because you won't find any audio on it!).