“Antithesis” (10 tracks. 49:55).
Antithesis strike me as a cross between Iron Maiden and Magdallan. They play sort of a NWOBHM that leans toward prog-rock at times due to two incredible guitar virtuosos, Paul Konijijca and Sean Perry. Their technical prowess immediately brings to mind some of Tourniquet’s best with the speed of a German Power Metal band. The variety in playing mixed with some great harmony leads gives them a killer sound. Vocalist Ty Cook is also quite diverse in his vocal delivery sounding at times like a rock singer and at times like a metal singer. His voice carries a hint of character missing in a lot of today’s vocalists. He even occasionally, like on “Sword of Mouth”, brings King Diamond to mind—uh, not the falsetto, though. Let’s not forget the fine bass and drum rhythm section as Jim Lewis and Paul Kostyack keep the band anchored in tempo. Few Metal bands with openly Christian lyrics and mentioning Jesus Christ in their list of “thank yous” today play with so much competence. Spurning no doubt the hindered and crippled “Christian” scene, Antithesis are a real contender for a secular deal (their next album is due out on Nightmare Records, btw). Antithesis in my opinion are as good a band as you can find out there. And I can’t help but feeling that if they don’t succeed it’ll either be because they couldn’t hold together or because of a bias against Christian bands. Otherwise, there is no reason not to them. Fans of great Classic/Power/Prog. Metal should give them a serious listen.
“Times and Unknown Waters” (8 tracks. 68:28).
Their name and their artwork should tell you that this band is a little different. They are definitely different. But this is a band you need to take time getting to know. Upon first hearing Blazing Eternity I thought to myself, “this is interesting”. But with each subsequent listen I found myself being drawn deeper and deeper into their music. To be sure, I find this to be a very unique and enjoyable album. It should have made it onto my list of top picks for 2000, but I got it too late to make it onto that list.
To me Blazing Eternity are best described as a moody Progressive Metal band with Death Metal undertones. Add one keyboardist to that. One might compare them to Amorphis, but that is only a loose comparison. Really, I think the best description of their music would be to say that it is a cross between Mental Home and In Flames. The idea I’m trying to convey here is very moody, atmospheric Metal with clean parts that alternate with intense parts. Some have even added a comparison to Opeth (see Terrorizer #82). Many of the songs on this CD are “pocket symphonies”, to use Brian Wilson’s terminology. Many of them last for 7 to 10 minutes and have different movements. Occasionally, as in “Concluding the Dive of Centuries”, the song will morph into different styles, even doom. Then on the second tune, “Fortabte Horisonter” there are some great acoustic guitar parts. The musicianship is top notch. Vocalist Peter Mesnickow’s vocal delivery sound much like the Swedish Death bands, but he also does spoken word and clean singing. For those Metal fans that are into the bands on labels like The End and Dark Symphonies, and perhaps Napalm, Blazing Eternity will be a great find.
“When the Tide Breaks” (8 tracks. 42:27).
With all the excitement today over Classic Metal bands with female singers I can barely hold my enthusiam about Sinphonia. While Nightwish and the Gathering are great bands, Sinphonia simply rise above them. Don’t get me wrong, they are truly great bands, but would you believe that Sinfonia is a band ready to take the genre to a new level? Well, they are. I have been listening to this CD over and over just mesmerized by Monika Pederson’s emotion drenched voice and the awesome music accompanying it. Pederson sounds a lot like Anneke from The Gathering, and the passion in her voice is comparable. The band plays a very Progressive style of Metal with razor sharp production. It reminds me a bit of Veni Domine, only more aggressive. The solos are awesome. Let me tell you, if you follow bands like Nightwish, The Gathering and so on, you’d be stupid not to get this one.
“The Edge” (8 tracks. 44:27).
Boy am I glad I hooked up with Intromental Music. This is THE Power Metal CD that everyone needs to get. It contains a hearty blend of power and finesse, topped off with passionate vocals and catchy lyrics. The funny thing is that these songs are so polished that you might expect to hear them on the radio, only they have a sharp, crisp guitar sound that would scare really “sensitive” people. You might be tempted to sing along with “Far Beyond the Edge of Sanity” while also banging your head. Each song sounds very carefully constructed—no, make that masterfully constructed. Especially of interest is the instrumental “The Nightmare”. If notes could talk, this song would make a very eloquent speech. It seems that Germany needs to look jealously towards Denmark as Twilight appears to be going for the Power Metal championship. Twilight have a sound that rivals bands like Mob Rules, Ivory Tower, Vanishing Point, Stratovarius, and so on. Add to that the guitar CRUNCH of Judas Priest. In short, this album is not to be missed. More! Give me more.