Painful Shadow would appear to be the album that refuses to die… originally self-released last year, Hadal were then picked up by Sliptrick Records who re-released the album earlier this year, and now the album is getting a third release, targeted at US audiences later this month.

I can think of many albums that weren’t worth being released once, let alone three times, and whilst Painful Shadow isn’t that bad, it’s hard to see this third time being a charm in terms of world domination for Hadal.

Put simply, what’s on offer here is just too ordinary to be of much interest beyond the hardcore doom/death audience at which it’s being pitched. Everything proceeds at a stately pace – the same stately pace, throughout – with only the occasional icily melodic solo from lead guitarist Franco causing the listener to stop what they’re doing and concentrate more fully on what’s coming out of the speakers.

Closing track White Shade is probably the best of the eleven on offer, being a spirited revisitation of the early nineties work of Paradise Lost and Anathema, whilst the excellently named Slow Violence also has a fair bit going for it, but for the most part what the listener is presented with is an amorphous mass of polite noise.

Almost certainly the problem here is that the band don’t quite carry the courage of their convictions in any of the directions they want to pursue. The album isn’t heavy enough to appeal to hardcore death heads, it’s not gothy enough to appeal to those who only come out at night and it’s not doom-laden enough to appeal overmuch to the rest of the sometimes trend-fixated metal community. The onus, therefore, next time this band makes an album is to push a bit harder in one of those directions, and follow through on some of the promise they so obviously have.

Stop hedging those bets, lads!

Painful Shadow gets it’s American release on July 23rd.