intensely impressed me with their four albums Border Of Reality, Bleed, Enlighten The Darkness
and Of Human Bondage. A unique style of melancholic Power Metal mixed with symphonic and progressive elements performed with great skill, has made these recordings some of my favourites in an otherwise extensive collection. Angel Dust
also released two albums in the eighties, which I don't really know that well (can they be found anywhere?), what I know is that the style is a simpler and harder one.
Border Of Reality from 1998 is the first release in the second coming of the band, and also the one that has made its biggest impression on me. There are more progressive components than on later releases, and the keyboards are no less than majestic. Seen as a whole album this one is simply a piece of great art, not that the other three are not fantastic, they are, but Border Of Reality just works in a slightly different and very hypnotic way.
The album opens with Border Of Reality
, an extremely powerful and intense song. The guitar work is not a simple average Power Metal riff, it glows with flair and energy. The vocals are perfectly sung by Dirk Thurish, raw and hard.
There are many great things to mention in this song, it's clearly some of the best Power Metal ever created. If you follow one instrument you'll find out just how many small details it holds. To sum up this is a pure monster of a song, very diverse and nicely put together.
Next up is No More Faith
, a straight-ahead Power Metal track with some heavy guitar riffs and some incredible intense and varied drums. This song really kicks ass with its right in your face attitude. A hard track that shows the band from its aggressive side, nicely combined with some fantastic and catchy symphonic parts.
The beginning of Nightmare
is pretty far out with its "over the edge" keyboard/voice intro, but a cool raw riff sets the song into a more recognisable style.
The "spacy" keys are in fact a great detail and works well with the main rhythm, where a thunderous guitar riff takes up a lot of attention. This is a very special song in the good sense of the word featuring stunning keyboard melodies and rhythm passages.
Considering that this in fact is my least well liked song on the record, partly due to the quite simple chorus, and me nevertheless finding it a high quality song, really sets this album's overall quality into perspective.
really rocks with its up-tempo pace and its huge and catchy chorus. The bass is very much worth paying attention to, great variation and skill. One of the absolute best elements on this record is the keyboard and in this song that's surely no exception. It's always there lurking in the background making a great atmosphere or very much in front playing part in the tracks solo part.
When I Die
starts off with some calm harmonious pan pipe/acoustic guitar sounds that's sets just the right atmosphere for this emotional song.
The great lyric surrounding the philosophical theme about dying and what happens afterwards is perfectly sung and melt nicely together with the musical side.
This almost 10 minute epic still amazes me when I listen to it, great progressive passages, stunning keyboard, powerful drums, a fantastic melodic guitar/keyboard solo and an overall thrilling and varied song.
Where The Wind Blows
is another mind-blowing track. The guitar work is simply fantastic and the catchy chorus gets me every time. The quiet passages with well performed vocal parts works brilliantly together with the main rhythm. This is not a straight-ahead Power Metal song in composition, its rather a complex blend of minor varied elements, passages and melodies, just the stuff that makes things that more interesting.
Dirk sings with a high amount of both power and melody, something that can be difficult but he masters it to perfection. The extremely well written and very sad and depressing lyric about despair and feeling lost melts together with the music in a stunning way.
This ranks up there with the best songs ever in my book.
If I play Behind The Mirror
on a gloomy night with dim light it's just like entering a new world, the beginning of the song is very unique with its atmospheric and dreaming vibe, it is simply fantastic music.
The song nevertheless changes and a faster tempo is approached, like the other longer tracks there are many great, varied breaks and twists and turns along the way.
The keys from Steven Banx are some of the best I have ever heard. They fill up a rather central place in the overall sound picture; I find this perfect considering the high technical skill they are performed with and the fact that they create genius backgrounds, melodious lines and great progressive parts, and this fact runs through the whole album.
is the album's slowest song with a calm vibe especially created by the fantastic piano melody. Once again high quality vocals and a harmonious guitar solo that fits the overall mood perfect.
A very powerful, intense, crystal clear and extremely good production fits the music nicely.
The lyrics are of pretty high standard through the whole record, spiritual in content in a very interesting way in many songs.
My very high rating is also based on the aspect that I find this album to combine some of the musical styles I personally like the best. Technical Power Metal, great symphonic elements, progressive passages, dark atmospheric moments and emotion-filled lyrics, these among many.
Another thing that also has something to say is the extremely high technical skill and musical flair of the band. This is apparent in all aspects and instruments a phenomenal well-played album, offering a musical approach that's pretty unique.
I can only highly recommend this release. In my opinion it has extremely thrilling songs to offer and certainly an album that I often listen to; the capturing atmosphere surrounding the whole album is pure magic.
Written by Tommy
Wednesday, July 16, 2003Show all reviews by TommyRatingsTommy: 9.5/10
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