(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.
Review by Jason Ritchie