Mysterious in almost the right ways . . .
It's a solid release, but I'm not as in love with it as I am with some Beast songs. To me, Shadow looks too much like Soom but doesn't have the sharp-lined contrasts or the visual richness of the 2010 release. It also reminds me of Midnight, but I wasn't a huge fan of that release either. Shadow's set is much nicer than Soom's (or Midnight's for that matter), but there are definitely similarities, which makes me long for the spark that Soom has and Shadow does not. Especially in terms of choreography, where Soom's choreography was dramatic and eye-catching, instantly recognizable, Shadow's choreography is just kind of there. It's not the spectacle that it usually is in Beast releases and it definitely does have the attention grabbing impact it should, especially in a release without an active narrative. I mean really, Beast had epic choreography even in the Beautiful / I Like You Best promotions, and those MVs have a massively complicated, active plotline. Even Beautiful Night had some slick moves. Now I haven't seen Shadow Live yet, but there's not much in the video to indicate that the live-choreography is going to be epic. There's a few snippets of interesting choreography, but nothing with the sort of show-stopping appeal or memorable pizzazz of most of Beast's past releases.
Now, that's not to say Shadow isn't still cool. I love the tattoo/body-paint guy and the mirror-image split screens, particularly how they don't quite match up in certain places. Conceptually it's very cool and in a lot of ways, it pulls it off very well. There's drama in the set, the scale of things feels very grand and enveloping. The only visual aspect I have a problem with (aside from the choreography) is the lack of color. Shadow's desaturation is thematic, but it really drains away a lot of the visual interest when the desaturation is spread so evenly. I'd have liked it better it there was a balance, some scenes in the story being dark and drained of color, and some scenes being bright enough to give the darkened scenes some punch.
Song-wise, Shadow is a very solid release. There's an impressive use of harmony, elegant counterpoint. The melody sits high in the listener's awareness but the smoothe synth and piano fill supports it well and the gritty beat keeps everything grounded. Rhythmically it slides along with a sort of smoothe regularity that's broken up by decorations that compound and lead the song to develop well. Over all, I really like the song, the MV too even.