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(68:47; Dr. Music Records)
I donít appear to have a press release for this, but itís not rocket science to say that the fifth studio album from the band (some ten years on from their last), is a continuation of a story which started on their second album and was continued on the third. Singer Martin Lemar has been at the helm since 2004, while keyboard player Oliver Schwickert and guitarist Rainer Grund have been there since the beginning some six years earlier. There is a new rhythm section in bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X) and drummer John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen, TNT etc) and they have all slotted in very well together. Musically this is a blast from start to finish, think Stratovarius, Symphony X, high speed Threshold and then you may get the idea. There may be only one guitarist, but the way he interlinks with the keyboards soon makes one forget as this is a Hensley/Box or Lord/Blackmore interaction for a new generation. Listen to ďBread and CircusesĒ when they are both at full speed just to an idea of what I mean. Lemar sings mostly in a gruff rougher register, going higher only when the time is right, and there is a very Teutonic feel to the proceedings. With just one guitar it allows the bass to be heard more as an instrument in its own right and there are some superb passages where LePond shows he is there to do more than just provide the foundation. A full colour booklet containing the lyrics, and even a song which has been constructed around a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, this is quite a find for me. Progressive metal crossing into power metal at times, this is a metallic delight from beginning to end, and I only hope we donít have to wait ten years for the next one. Here is a band who have been away for a decade and have come back with a huge bang. Seek it out.
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