Friday, April 10, 2009
Genre: American Heavy Metal/Progressive Metal
Label: Rhino/Warner Bros.
Country of Origin: USA
Band Formation: 1981
Vocals/Keyboard: Geoff Tate
Lead and Rhythm Guitars: Michael Wilton
Bass: Eddie Jackson
Drums: Scott Rockenfield
Guitar: Parker Lundgren
3. Hundred Mile Stare
4. At 30,000 Ft
5. A Dead Man’s Words
6. The Killer
7. Middle of Hell
8. If I Were King
9. Man Down
10. Remember Me
11. Home Again
12. The Voice
Review: To be brutally honest, the expectations for this album weren’t very high. But, the band managed to incorporate their conventional knowledge on a war-theme based album. The finished product is quite satisfactory. Read on.
Now, as you must have already read that under the genre section above, I have mentioned “American Heavy Metal/Progressive Metal”. Okay, I wrote that strictly considering the year this band was formed in. If strictly evaluated in the current years bearing in mind the technicality induced into metal genres, this might qualify for Hard Rock or Progressive Rock. I am tempted to credit it with a Classic Rock tag as well.
The very first thing that shall grab hold of all your hearing sense is the amazing vocal range of Geoff Tate. I have always been and will always be a fan. He takes the band’s bombastic musical level to a higher one. But, for fans like me who have listened to the band’s previous releases, his “comparatively” lesser vocal range could be a prompt to quit smoking.
A “slight” influence of grunge and groove can be diagnosed in the songs “Sliver” and “Unafraid” and rock anthem characteristics in “Hundred Mile Stare” and “If I were King”. But, the song that draws most attention is “Home Again”. It is rumoured that Tate’s dad contributed his voice for the song, “The Voice”. And, Emily, Tate’s daughter sang for “Home Again”.
Precisely, the lyrics though slightly indirect manage to establish an easy connection as the entire album, including the cover art is a tribute to the US troops. This is indeed a testament to those soldiers who sacrifice themselves in the name of freedom. To metalheads, this is a worthy break from those current bands that are recycling material and presenting them in a rather weird manner.
Having written all this, I am compelled to turn back to their old albums and compare their latest release to them. Yes, this is great band. But, it is an old band too. Yet I still strongly believe they have the potential to do better. Lyrically, nothing could get better than this. But, musically, I feel they’ve compromised on quite a few occasions. The music is unadventurous. Since, the theme is quite heartfelt, you are bound to overlook these factors.
When you quit that stage and listen to review the album, you identify these errors. The song list makes so much sense as you listen to it. But, that is mainly and only because of the lyrics. It makes me feel happy, as I am a lyricist myself. But, music does play a vital role to keep you engaged, doesn’t it?
So, I am compelled to say that this album “may” not be worth a mention on your checklist to buy this month. But, don’t make a mistake of not listening to it. It isn’t great music but the lyrics surely are. Don’t expect a comeback as you approach this album. You are sure to be disappointed.
Highlights of the album: Sliver, Unafraid, Hundred Mile Stare, If I were King, Home Again
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Written for Headbangers India
Copyright © Ajey Padival 2009 (Brisbane, Australia; +61-434360675; email@example.com)