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(Lion Music LMC077) (2003)

The follow-up to the band's 2000 debut album. The line-up is - Lars Eric Mattsson (guitars/bass), Alex Masi (guitars), Empire drummer Gerald Kloos, Alexander King (keys) and Ella Grussner (vocals/violin). After a brief instrumental opener in 'The Warning', its fast paced metal with 'Eye Of A Storm' where the vocals of Ella Grussner immediately make an impact. She has a very tuneful voice, almost folk in delivery but strong enough to be heard above the guitars/bass/drums. 'Why Won't You Hear Me?' contains the catchiest riff on the album and some superb guitar soloing as well. The keys on this track also remind me of Rick Wakeman's work on his latest album. Plenty of instrumentals on here as well as you'd expect form such a talented line-up. Pick of the crop are 'Cycles' for the guitar/keyboard interplay and the jazz rock/fusion of 'Seven Stars'. Nice touch of folk balladry on 'Your Freedom', a gentle number which again highlights Grussner's vocal talents.

Enjoyable progressive metal release with the added bonus of folk influences which take it above many releases in this field. Good to see some female vocals in a lead role for a change as well and I am sure we will hear more from Ella Grussner in the future.

Lion Music


Review by Jason Ritchie

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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