Ballads V

SKU: 279452
Label:
Steamhammer/SPV
Category:
Melodic Metal
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"Rare is the day that an artist like Axel Rudi Pell can release his fifth ballad-oriented album to go down so well with his long-term fan base. More well-known for crafting melodic hard rock with a Blackmore flavor, these niche records usually combine previously issued cuts from his studio albums along with a few covers, new songs, and live renditions to fill things out.

When it comes to ‘new' material, you'll get "Love's Holding On" featuring a duet with Bonnie Tyler ("Total Eclipse of the Heart" vocalist for those who remember that big 80's hit), an interpretation of Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire", plus an eight-minute effort "On the Edge of Our Time" that features the restrained Axel bluesy, measured guitar touch that tugs at the heart strings. The end of the record contains two live songs for "The Line" plus an almost 14-minute "Mistreated", with Doogie While and keyboardist Don Airey making guest appearances for the latter. At 10 songs and 73 minutes, "The Ballads V" surely offers a wide scope of his slower songs that include the professional vocal execution from Johnny Gioeli, steady supplementation from keyboardist Ferdy Doernberg and solid backbone of bassist Volker Krawczak and drummer Bobby Rondinelli.

For many, this record will be a stop gap release. Others seem to love hearing Axel Rudi Pell shift into lower gear and expand his guitar playing into more emotional terrain. There's enough worthy material to comb through, as "Love's Holding On" is an outstanding duet that hopefully will give ARP wider appreciation outside of his normal hard rock/metal circles. Rest assured, Axel is hard at work on his next studio platter, so there will be more melodic hard rock to treasure down the road." - Eternal Terror

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    $12.00
  • What a great singer Ian Parry is. This guy simply doesn't get the recognition he deserves. He's the prototypical metal singer - great control and range. This is his fourth Consortium Project album. The lineup eschews the previous three's all-star approach. The core band is Ian Parry on vocals, plus Joshua Dutrieux on guitars as well as Ivar De Graaf on drums. There is an assortment of singers and musicians filling in the musical nooks and crannys. Dutrieux and De Graaf are the primary songwriters as well. Children Of Tomorrow is a futuristic concept album. The music is pure melodic metal/AOR. It has a real epic feel. Stick Parry's voice in front a choir and you can't help but get a big sound.
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    $16.00
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    $17.00
  • "One listen to this album and I was immediately drawn back to the sunset strip and the glory days of hair metal, but upon further listening to this album it goes so much farther. Kingdom of Rock by Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall is an amazing album and I only wish I would have heard of him sooner. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Magnus Karlsson, let me give you a brief synopsis. Magnus Karlsson is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He has been on many projects through Frontiers Music including Bob Catley’s solo album Immortal and also the Allen/Linde and Kiske/Somerville collaborations on which he was also the primary songwriter. Magnus has also been a member of Last Tribe, Midnight Sun, Starbreaker, and Primal Fear to name a few.  Magnus’s talent as a songwriter is put to good use on Kingdom of Rock and any fans of 80’s hair metal or the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will absolutely love this album.Kingdom of Rock starts off with a nice orchestral arrangement and kicks into an early “Europe” sounding rocker that doesn’t take any prisoners or doesn’t ask if you mind. Great track and the guitar work is impeccable. "Out of the Dark” should easily please any Dokken fan. With headphones on you would almost swear that it’s George Lynch playing on this track.  “When the Sky Falls” starts off with an amazingly powerful “chant” and kicks into a Queensryche meets Dokken sounding rocker.  Great groves and a sing a long chorus make for a phenomenal track.  Even the Guitar solo could be sung along with. This track is extremely well-crafted and executed all the way through.“Another Life” starts with a very worldly mandolin and makes you almost believe you are listening to a Celtic track before breaking into a powerhouse fret burning rocker. And then morphs again into a very catchy example of what made “Hair Metal” so much fun. Again it’s just exceptionally written all the way through.  “The Right Moment” contains everything that makes the power ballad so good. Strong lyrics that are allowed to shine and the instrumentation is spot on. Nothing is overpowering and there’s is room for everything. It is refreshing not to hear things fighting for their space in the mix.  This album closes with “Walk this Road Alone” and anyone that likes the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will love this track. This is an extremely powerful closing track with massive hooks in all the right places.Magnus Karlsson’s Free Fall is a giant breath of fresh air. The musicianship is untouchable and the guest singers were carefully chosen to lift the already great songs to even greater heights.  I said before that any fan of 80’s hair metal would love this, but I have to say that anyone that loves great songs with powerful vocals and guitars will love this album. From fans of T.S.O. and Yngwie Malmsteen to Hair metal will absolutely enjoy this listening experience.  I, myself, being a certified guitar geek and metal nerd can’t stop listening to this. Thank you, Magnus, for one hell of an album and for reminding all of us what made hair metal and the guitarists from that era so enjoyable.  So c’mon everyone put on your denim and leather, raise your horns to the sky and enter into the Kingdom of Rock." - 1340mag.com
    $14.00
  • "When one thinks of countries that are a hotbed of prog metal bands, places such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland come to mind. However the Land Down Undah’ otherwise known as Australia has been churning out amazing prog metal bands for the past decade. Bands such as Hemina, Voyager, Lord, Carnivool, Caligula’s Horse, Teramaze and Melbourne’s Vanishing Point have been wowing the prog metal scene for the past decade. It’s been seven long years since the release of Vanishing Point’s The Fourth Season, but the melodic metal quintet consisting of Silvio Massaro (Vocals), Chris Porcianko and James Maier (Guitars), Simon Best (Bass), and Christian Nativo (Drums) have finally returned with their fifth studio album Distant Is The Sun on AFM Records. The band has stayed true to their unique blend of progressive, power, AOR metal and have secured the talents of Sebastian “Seeb” Levermann of Ordan Ogen for mixing duites on Distant Is The Sun. Picking up right where The Fourth Season left off, the musicianship and songwriting on Distant Is The Sun is exceptional.The album kicks off with the short instrumental track Beyond Redemption and powers right into the first song King of Empty Promises. The double bass drum attack from Nativo and melodic keyboards lead the way and the harmonious soaring vocals during the chorus are a perfect way to officially start the album.The title track is next and begins with a heavy groove and transforms into a light piano tinged verses with Massaro’s impressive vocals leading to a catchy and melodic chorus. The twin guitar harmony lead attack from Porcianko and Maier is a thing of beauty during the solo section.Symphonic keys signify the start of When Truth Lies, an epic slab of energetic melodic progressive metal with a driving headbanging beat. Sonata Arctica frontman Tony Kaako lends his melodic pipes to the fast and furious power metal of Circle of Fire. Kaako and Massaro’s vocals compliment each other extremely well and create an amazing metal duet.The keyboard prominence on Denied Deliverance is pronounced in the mix but never overshadows the heaviness of the track, it just adds to the overall melody of the song. A blazing guitar solo section highlights the middle portion of another stellar song. Let the River Run has an impeccable acappella vocal harmony section that begins this mid tempo metal gem. The beautiful vocals during the chorus will be stuck in your head for days after listening.The album slows down for the piano based Story of Misery but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a traditional power ballad. The emphasis is on POWER with a emotive vocal performance from Massaro. Era Zero speeds things right back up with a frenzied double kick attack with plenty of soaring melodic vocals throughout and a shredding guitar solo from the tandem of Porcianko/Maier and culminates in a symphonic ending and bursts right into Pillars of Sand which keeps the hard and fast metal flowing.The eerie keyboard intro of As December Fades melds into a Maiden-esque guitar harmony and a glorious AOR sounding chorus with a symphonic element that is reminiscent of Within Temptation. A bright piano melody signals the beginning of Handful of Hope. Once again Massaro gets his chance to shine with an impressive vocal performance filled with passion and emotion. The bands penchant for writing catchy power metal is on display on Walls of Silence. The brilliant symphonic melodies and heavy guitar compliment each other perfectly. The album closes with the acoustic guitar tinged instrument titled April, an understated yet effective piece of music with a keyboard accompaniment underneath in the mix. It is a curious choice to end the album, but well done nonetheless.After a seven-year absence, the world of melodic prog welcomes back Vanishing Point with open arms and hopefully Distant Is The Sun will shoot the band to the next level of popularity outside their native Australia. This goes to show that like a fine wine, Vanishing Point only improves with age!" - Lady Obscure
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  • "Danish legends PRETTY MAIDS never achieved the success they rightfully deserve. They have been releasing amazing material since their inception in 1981. Their catalog is incredibly consistent and jaw dropping. Their records “Red Hot and Heavy”, “Future World” and 2010s “Pandemonium” ranks up there with some of the best material of the last 30 years in Rock and Metal. Their latest record “Motherland”, released through Italy’s Frontiers Records is another heavy melodic masterpiece.2010s release “Pandemonium” was such an amazing record that the thought of following it up was a concern not only for the band but fans and critics alike. Everyone can breathe a sigh of relief as they have done it again as “Motherland” captures PRETTY MAIDS at their best. Like all PRETTY MAIDS releases the songwriting is outstanding and every song is remarkably strong.Ronnie Atkins is an amazing soulful singer who seems to get better with age. His unique blend of melody and raspiness is unmatched and his voice is one of a kind. Founding guitarist Ken Hammer blends acrobatic guitar playing with a sense of melody that fits his songs brilliantly and is another unsung hero that can play with precision and emotion.Jacob Hansen’s production is crisp and jumps off the speakers. Returning to work with the band after the success of 2010s “Pandemonium” shows the partnership still is the perfect pairing. The mix is layered, separated and Hansen is quickly becoming the go to producer in Rock and Metal.First single “Mother of All Lies”, “Why So Serious?” and the title track show the band perfecting their heavier side. The title track is an up-tempo pounder that grooves, crushes and the chorus is pure perfection. The keyboards incorporate a subtle arpeggio sequence that backs Atkins as he sings a melody that is infectious. “Why So Serious?” is a haunting captivating chugger that blends melody with syncopated riffing, the biggest headbanger on the record.While “Sad to See You Suffer”, “Bullet For You” and the excellent “Wasted” is the perfect counterbalance and shows off their melodic essence. “Bullet For You” showcases a tender Atkins at his best. The harmonies are luscious and fill out the vocals beautifully. “Wasted” closes the record and does an excellent job of blending Morten Sandager’s keyboard playing into the songwriting. Again, the melodies dominate and paint the perfect landscape. All of these songs have amazing choruses that will stick in your head long after the record is over. Ever since their cover of John Sykes “Please Don’t Leave Me”; Pretty Maids are destined to play the rock ballad. They nail it.30 years into their career, “Motherland” finds PRETTY MAIDS unbelievably at their creative peak. Not too many bands are writing some of their strongest material thirteen albums into their career. Surprisingly on par with the fantastic “Pandemonium”, it is time for PRETTY MAIDS to be catapulted into the spotlight and be rewarded for their remarkable career. Let's hope that they have another thirteen albums left in them to compose because they have found their creative groove. “Motherland” contains all of the attributes that make PRETTY MAIDS outstanding. I can only hope that now is the time for them to launch a proper North American tour." - Metal Temple
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  • Magnus Karlsson's name might not be that familiar to you but if you are a fan of melodic metal you probably own an album or two he was involved in.  The Swedish guitarist's original band was Last Tribe.  After a number of albums for Frontiers he was the man behind the curtain for the two Allen/Lande albums as well as a bunch of other projects for the label.  Ultimately he became a member of Primal Fear and toured with this.Freefall is his first solo album under his own name.  He plays all the instruments except drums which are handled by Danny Flores of Mind's Eye.  Calling in favors, Karlsson has enlisted a who's who of vocalists from the melodic metal realm: Russell Allen (Symphony X), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tony Harnell (TNT), Rick Altzi (Masterplan), David Readman (PC69), Mark Boals (Malmsteen), Michael Andersson (Cloudscape), Rikard Bengsston (Last Tribe), and Herman Saming (A.C.T).  That's a lot of good pipes!
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  • "Blown-a-way! Lande and Holter’s sonic vision of Dracula sounds like Dio meets Alice Cooper on the stage of Phantom of the Opera. It is brilliantly heavy, melodic, fun, campy, and contagious. 2015 has not even begun yet and this is already an album-of-the-year contender. I am supposed to save all of this praise for the summation of the review, but Swing of Death is just that damn good.  It serves as both a solid heavy metal album, and a devilishly creative concept production.Vocalist Jorn Lande delivers his most encompassing work to date as the voice of Vlad Dracul, aka Vlad the Impaler. Trond Holter offers up some of the most addictive and memorable riffs and solos, which play perfectly into the songs’ storylines. Holter also serves as the pianist for the record. The female vocals for the voice of the character Mina/Lucy, are performed with flair and precision by Norwegian singer Lena Fløitmoen. Bernt Jansen (bass) and Per Morten Bergseth (drums) serve as the rhythm section for this intriguingly dark and exciting journey.The waves crash upon the shore and lightening illuminates the sky to lead us into the tolling bell that opens “Hands of Your God”. The slow, grinding tempo of the song lends an ominous feel. The track sets the story’s tone. Lande’s voice is edgy and menacing. The listener has been warned.Lande’s intro for “Walk on Water” helps one picture Vlad, top hat in hand as he stands under a street lamp, orating his tale. It is the first of many pieces that carry a grand, epic flair. The track breaks into a mid-tempo head-banger that would feel right at home on any Dio album. The lead guitars have an almost renaissance feel to them, which then rolls into a Thin Lizzy-style dual harmony.A jazzy little tack piano kicks off the title track giving the listener the first real punch of camp. The vibe takes us into a bawdy vaudevillian era. The chorus, big and sweeping,  might have fit right into the likes of The Rocky Horror Picture Show or Grease…on steroids. “Swing of Death” is an absolutely delightful and rollicking romp.Holter’s starkly poignant piano opens up “Masquerade Ball” and scores the undoing of Mina. “Save Me” showcases the powerful vocal presence of Fløitmoen. The track is equal parts metal bombast and Broadway grandiloquence.A swingy guitar groove drives “River of Tears”, which finds Lena and Jorn trading off on vocals. Another huge, hooky chorus on this one. The breakdown finds Lande trying to woo his lady-love: “Come and lay down on my bed, tomorrow morning when you wake up you’ll be dead.” Holter offers up some of his most inspired fretwork down the stretch on this track.The eerie piano and tolling bell carry us into Lande’s ode to Mina, “Queen of the Dead”. The undulating guitar riff and towering vocal performance by Lande, recall Whitesnake in many respects. The guitar work in the second half is blistering, and the ascending feel of the song will raise the hair on your skin. A stand out track on an album packed with mammoth cuts.On and on the record goes. There is not a weak track on Swing of Death. To be any more effusive in my praise would sound like hyperbole. I imagine that somewhere Jon Oliva is listening to this record with a mix of rapture and jealousy, wishing he had done it first. Records like Swing of Death help keep the torch of melodic metal lit. Lande and Holter have matched imagination and talent to create a darkly whimsical and captivating metal opera." - Metalholic
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  • Digipak edition with bonus track."These Power Metal merchants are held in high regard thanks to their personnel who have the experience, plus the previous four albums by Silent Force have held the attention mixing the hooks with rampant guitar riffs and their flair for clinical execution.Their last album, 'Walk The Earth', was unleashed back in 2007 so there has been plenty of water under the proverbial bridge leading up to this release.One notable difference for fans of Silent Force is the absence of D.C. Cooper on lead vocals. He has returned to the mighty Danish Melodic Progressive Rock band Royal Hunt and on this album is replaced by Michael Bormann known for his work with Bloodbound and Powerworld.Known as the main brain behind these Metal marauders, Alex Beyrodt starts the proceedings with some Yngwie Malmsteen style fretwork before 'Caught In Their Wicked Game' runs loose. Fast paced and ready to eliminate the competition the band sound hungry and eager to please.The new vocalist here really complements the sound, but may have some struggles winning over purists who yearn for their favourite original singer. 'There Ain't No Justice' and 'Circle Of Trust' both thrust the sword through the torso as the energy remains relentless.I really enjoyed the opening salvo of these three songs the first time I heard this album, through to the fifth spin and so on. The latter of these three tracks retains a pop sensibility, but loses none of the Metal credentials that you'd expect from this band.Not much to find fault about regarding 'Living To Die' which doesn't have the same prominent and obvious hooks as the previous songs, but still retains the quality. Listen out for some tasty keys from Alessandro Del Vecchio in the song 'Before You Run' and there's some mean riffing throughout 'You Gotta Kick It'. The balancing trick between the keys and guitar is the love affair that makes this album so appealing to the ears. They are the real stars from start to finish.Sarah has a lot to answer for as 'Turn Me Loose' tackles a relationship lyrically and maintains the groove in the backdrop. Solid drumming from André Hilgers keeps the good ship Silent Force on course providing a solid backbone, but is still unable to save this song from being below par in comparison to the rest. Perhaps slipping a little through the gears and reaching auto-pilot, 'Born To Be A Fighter' goes through the numbers competently enough, but the sparks aren't flying.Meanwhile, 'Anytime Anywhere' picks up the level of quality and mixes things up with a fine arrangement oozing melodies at each turn. This brings us to the final track 'Kiss Of Death' which chugs along like your favourite Metal anthem. The chorus stands up well and is a great way to round off what overall has been an enjoyable journey.Eight out of ten of the songs here are monuments to their reputation and abilities. Top quality musicianship, crisp production and power found in the crevices are all that I was hoping for initially, plus a feisty and strong delivery from the new vocalist. Thankfully, they tick the boxes consistently apart from a couple of weaker tracks that don't quite reach up to the benchmark they set with the rest of the album. Let power and melody unite in a blissful collision once more, as album number five aligns itself with their back catalogue." - Metal Talk  
    $16.00
  • Section A is the studio project Vehicle for Danish shredder Torben Enevoldsen.  The first three releases featured Lions Share vocalist Andy Engberg and Vanden Plas drummer Andreas Lill.  For the fourth album Enevoldsen has shuffled the deck and come up with a new lineup.  Engberg has been replaced by Nicklas Sonne, a vocalist I am unfamiliar with but one who does a more than able guy.  He's quite good and I suspect we might hear from him in other bands in the future.  Dennis Hansen, from Enevoldsen's other band Fatal Force, is behind the kit. Essentially the star of any Section A album is Enevoldsen's guitarwork.  He shreds with the best of them and I must say is quite tasteful.  The music fits squarely in the melodic metal/hard rock mold.  While this isn't a revelatory album if you are fan of these genres you can do much worse than to check this out (the older Section A albums as well). "For those unfamiliar with the name, Section A is the brainchild of Danish guitar virtuoso (and multi-instrumentalist) Torben Enevoldsen, who decided that, after two solo instrumental albums in the late 1990s, he needed to stretch his musical muscles within a band format and therefore teamed up with 220 Volt/Lion’s Share vocalist Andy Engberg and Vanden Plas drummer Andreas Lill for the release of 2003’s ‘A Seventh Sign’.Now, 12 years and several line-up changes (the band, at least for recording purposes, now features Nicklas Sonne on vocal duties and Enevoldsen’s Acacia Avenue/Fatal Force bandmate Dennis Hansen behind the kit, with Julien Spreutels guesting on keyboards) later, the project has released its fourth album.The result is a more than decent, solid melodic hard rock album which is more than capable of standing shoulder to shoulder with many other such offerings in this particular genre. The individual performances are highly impressive. Sonne has a beautifully melodic voice, yet is more than capable of adding that extra grunt when and where needed, while Enevoldsen is a hugely under-rated exponent of his instrument, capable of switching from soaring solos to fierce shredding and dirty crunchy staccatos quicker than many guitarists can change effects pedals. Hansen is solid and tight, while Spreutels’ adds his own sweeping, melodic interjections on guest forays to the forefront of the sound (the guitarist plays the majority of the keyboards nestling gently in the background).The songs, in turn, are well-crafted. Enevoldsen (who also does all the writing as well as the bass work) takes no chances with the basic formulae, but instead concentrates on the solidity of the format, building atmospherics with aplomb, combining massive melodies with catchy hooks and punchy rhythms while not being afraid to unleash a fiery solo here and ease off the pedal there, resulting in a fluidity and organic feel to each track, and the album as a whole.Section A may be essentially a solo side project by a highly talented muso who recruits additional players to bring his vision to life, but that does not prevent ‘Wall Of Silence’ sounding like an entirely homogenous entity rather than a vainglorious vanity settler: far from it." - Uber Rock
    $15.00
  • "It’s only been a year since Norwegian super-vocalist Jorn Lande’s last studio album (2012’s Bring Heavy Rock to the Land), but we’ve already seen a symphonic re-recordings album (Symphonic) and now a brand new studio offering. The album, Jorn’s tenth solo album (assuming the Dio covers album counts), is called Traveller, and it’s the first to feature Wig Wam’s Trond Holter on lead guitar.Bring Heavy Rock to the Land was, to be frank, uninspired, so it’s something of a surprise to find Jorn back for another round this soon. Perhaps his new collaboration with Holter has recharged his creative batteries. Traveller does sound a bit more exciting than Bring Heavy Rock to the Land. To be sure, it’s still your basic Jorn album, sounding much like something the late Ronnie James Dio might have written for David Coverdale to sing. Still, Jorn’s incredible vocals make the whole thing completely enjoyable, even if it’s not remotely original.Traveller has a very satisfying crunch to it. It’s not so heavy the melodies are overwhelmed, but it has some metal power the way your average Pretty Maids or Masterplan album does. You hear it especially on the one-two punch of “Legend Man” and “Carry the Black,” but songs like “Overload” and the title track also get the blood pumping. The only real dud here is the closing song “The Man Who Was King,” which is a heartfelt, but completely cheesy ode to Jorn’s hero Ronnie James Dio. His heart’s in the right place, but he already had “A Song For Ronnie James” on the Dio album.There are no real surprises here. If you’re a Jorn fan, you pretty much know what to expect from Traveller. If you were less than thrilled with Bring Heavy Rock to the Land, Traveller will probably restore your faith in Jorn at least a little bit. It’s not the powerhouse album Spirit Black or Lonely Are the Brave were, but it’s still a rock solid melodic metal album from one of the best voices in the genre." - Hard Rock Haven
    $14.00
  • "After a three year absence it's great to welcome back Zak Stevens and Circle II Circle with their sixth studio album Seasons Will Fall. It's also great to find the band returning to their classic heavy metal roots, after the curious, slightly subtle, experimentation with alternative metal on their previous effort.Generally, and from the start, Seasons Will Fall is an ambitiously heavy album. The first four songs seem to exist only to prove this very thing, with only Diamond Blade having a more notable melodic hook. But the band redeems themselves with the solid groove of the extremely accessible, yet still heavy, End of Emotion. It also contains one of Stevens' best vocal performance. It's definitely the best song here.You get some more of that groove and melody in Never Gonna Stop and Isolation; a bit more progressive power metal in Dreams That Never Die; possibly a touch of blues within Downshot; and, the only power metal ballad in Only Yesterday. Mostly, as mentioned, Seasons Will Fall is basically straight heavier power metal. Stevens' vocals sound strong and even across the album. The production, typical of a Circle II Circle album, can be a point of contention, somewhere between dry as sawdust and as heavy as the music itself. Frankly, even after several spins, I found myself hovering around corner of ambivalence and interest, unsure whether I liked the album. It will be interesting to hear what C2C fans have to say about Seasons Will Fall. " - Dangerdog.com
    $11.00
  • "Chapter 1, the debut album from Level 10 is the first collaboration between vocal powerhouse Russell Allen (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob) and bassist/producer/writer Mat Sinner (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle) Frontiers President, Serafino Perugino initiated the duo to team up for the creation of a new Metal project which could melt the more contemporary sound of Adrenaline Mob with the more traditional European Power Metal melody and aggression.Sinner enlisted his Primal Fear/Voodoo Circle bandmates Randy Black (on drums) and Alex Beyrodt (on guitar) and Roland Grapow (ex Helloween, MasterPlan, Serious Black) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, Voodoo Circle) to complete the lineup on lead guitar and keyboards respectively. On the songwriting side – besides the band members – the album features the songwriting talents of Magnus Karlsson, Carsten Schulz, Ralf Scheepers, Johann Fiegl, Sander Gommans and Amanda Somerville.For those fans of Russell Allen who were expecting Symphony X, you will be slightly disappointed, aside from Allen’s trademark pipes, there is not much here resemble Symphony X’s brand of neo-classical prog metal. By the same token, those fans of Allen who fear the agro-vocals and Godsmack-esque brand of “modern heavy rock”, can breathe easy, as the music on Chapter One leans closer to Euro power metal than mainstream hard rock.The album opener, Cry No More kicks off with a vengeance, with a guitar riff that would sound at home on one of Voodoo Circle albums. Allen’s vocals are powerful during the verses and soar on the multi-harmony chorus. Del Vecchio adds a 70’s moog synth sound on the keys and Black pounds the drums mercilessly. There is a crunchy, heavy groove on the mid-tempo Soul of the Warrior, featuring stellar vocal work on the chorus and a catchy as hell chorus. The tempo picks up with an 80’s sounding rocker with a driving beat, heavy chugging guitar rhythms, and Allen sounding aggressive while still maintaining his trademark melodic voice. The chorus features another killer multi-harmony vocal and Beyrodt and Grapow get to flex their muscles during the harmony guitar solo.The album takes a more AOR tone on the heavy rock anthem One Way Street, which has a 70’s Bad Company meets Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood feel to it. Randy Black’s percussion skills are on center stage, showing why Black is one of the most versatile drummers in power metal today. The albums first single titled Blasphemy has the symphonic bombast of European power metal and Allen’s voice is at it’s most evil sounding during the vocals and shows off his upper register during the chorus.Last Man On Earth is another hard rock song with a great hook and sing-a-long chorus, which does get a little repetitive after a few listens but I guess that’s what why they call it a hook! Scream And Shout is another old school power mental anthem straight out of the 80’s with it’s, for lack of a better word, *shout* a-long chorus. The guitar harmonies and shredding solo section blend in perfectly and Black’s double bass drumming drives the song once again.Allen flexes his vocal muscles on the mid-tempo rock of Into The Wilderness, using his upper register as only he can. The song itself isn’t as memorable as some of the other material on the album save for the chorus, which has some fine harmony vocal work. The requisite piano power ballad All Is Gone is a fitting showcase for Russell Allen’s amazing vocal prowess, even though the song itself sounds like a combination of Symphony X’s When All Hope Is Lost and something off of one of the Allen/Lande albums, which is not surprising since Magnus Karlsson is one of the credited songwriters here.The crushing riff of Demonized brings the heavy power metal with Russell at his most sinister sounding. For those fans wanting to hear something heavy, this one is for you. Chugging guitar rhythms, aggressive vocals, pounding drums, and shredding solos, this one has it all, a headbangers delight! The groove-heavy Soul Is Enternal has a mid-tempo fist pumping rhythm with Allen using a more soulful vocal approach during the verses and letting loose during the chorus.The album closer Forevermore is a power metal classic filled with melody, a HUGE multi-vocal harmony chorus and superb vocals from Allen and guest Ralf Scheepers vocals are quite noticeable in the mix. This song is probably the closest to the sound of Primal Fear and tied with Cry No More for my favorite song on the album. In an age where so-called supergroups are becoming more prevalent, Level 10’s debut album finds itself in the upper echelon, even if its destiny is to be a one off studio project, only time will tell." - Lady Obscure
    $14.00