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Symphorce Twice Second

By Krista G., Contributor
Monday, March 22, 2004 @ 8:33 AM


(Metal Blade)

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There’s going to come a time when I’m tired of Thrash, Death, Melodic Death and any other form of extreme metal I’ve missed naming. That’s where this disc fits nicely in. Not hard to categorize -- it’s basically power/heavy metal that still manages to very rocks hard. This band knows how to bring it with style. Symphorce's fourth release, hence the title. Twice second is an album full of melodic and memorable songs, blended openly and beautifully.

This is a severely underrated band as far as progressive metal goes. It drips with melodic guitar work, twin guitar trade offs, heavy riffing. The bass comes on very strong, not to deter you from this release at all. But, the experimentation with some of the styles contained in this gem are what makes it stand out, keeping it fresh and without “cheese.” Drumming is all over. It can be the slowed down pace of death metal style, with sparse blast beats, or nice snare rolls. It’s whatever the song needs for pacing -- done with flair. The singer, Andy Franck, is a vocal god in the making. He’s got the power of Bruce Dickinson, the finesse or Matt Barlow and all the class of John Arch of Fates Warning. Some effects are put on the vocals, and some parts are nearly spoken. There are keyboards mixed in -- tiny amounts which range from creepy to melodic. They’re not heavy in the least, and add a welcome dimension to the songs. Song structuring is wide open -- allowing everything and all nuances to be heard perfectly. The sequencing of the arrangements make wonderful ups and downs, always reaching for more, to push it farther. But, don’t forget the bits of experimentation that I mentioned -- the heavy bass, the strange keys, the effects on the vocals. That’s what separates this from being run of the mill. It makes it stand out, pushing limits in a genre that needs some torqueing.

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1 “Fallen” -- Thumping and galloping drums with matching riffs. Assume from here on out, the supremely powerful vocals full of passion. And heavy bass tones.

2. “Tears” -- Memorable for its melodic moments, and double solo, which blends into a dual guitarist solo.

3. “Whatever Hate Provides” -- Fast paced song with heavy guitar tones. Echoing intro to the vocals, with the effects later on. “You’re nothing to me!”

4. “Cause Of Laughter” -- Odd guitar tones start this off, with more of a doomy edge to the main riffing. Song of contempt and loathing. Still highly melodic with great hooks, and heavy ass pre-solo bridge.

5 “In The Cold” -- Slow fade in, that straddles back and forth perfect clarity and distortion. Strong guitar harmonics in this galloping rocker.

6 “Take What’s Mine” -- Very doom tinged, with heavy pinch harmonics that end every heavy riff. Slower paced overall, but mixed up. Beautiful haltering between hurt lyrics.

7 “Face of Pain” -- Strong, galloping, compelling song. Heavy guitar tones are balanced nicely with crystal clear, excellent guitar work.

8 “Searching” -- Classic progressive song. 10 “Cry On my Shoulder” -- Beautiful metal ballad, done right. With power and passion--lyrically written with uncertainly. Something we can all relate to.

11 “Bonus Track” is all I can call it. It’s not labeled, and I have no title for it. Nice added bonus.

If you’re a fan of Iron Maiden or Solo Bruce Dickinson, Fates Warning, Iced Earth, or any of the other prog rockers this is for you. Power/prog metal done right!

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