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Tri State Corner - Hero Award winner

Tri State Corner
by Emmalyn Campbell at 20 May 2018, 6:01 PM

TRI STATE CORNER is a Hard/Alternative Rock band from Burscheid, Germany. The group’s name references five members from three countries: Greece, Poland, and Germany. Their signature sound is known for combining Rock music with the bouzouki, a Greek plucked string instrument, as well as having passages sometimes sung in Greek. Since their formation in 2004, they have released one EP and four albums, the fourth, “Hero,” released in April of 2018. The album is meant to be a continuation from the previous two, in which the story of a migrant is told, who leaves home for a foreign country and eventually finds good fortune despite many challenges.

Fortune In Lies” is an epic opener. There’s an expert layering of dark and deep guitar with the zippy bouzouki, and being very unfamiliar with this instrument beforehand, I can say that the two make fantastic complements, not competing to be the loudest or the fastest but working together to create something quite pleasing and commanding. The two open the second track “Tomorrowland” as well, Vassilios Maniatopoulos’ voice coming in almost regally. The verses have a wonderful melody with a classically heavy riff serving as the backdrop, and the instrumental bridge where the bouzouki takes center stage is stunning.

Daydreamer” is a difficult one for me. The guitar solo is great, but the chorus falls flat a little in comparison to the verses, especially coming after two bangers. It could be a song that needs a few replays, but I don’t think it can hold its own against the first two tracks. “Save My World” only furthers my point. There’s a slow, beautiful beginning where I just want to close my eyes and sigh contentedly at the instrumental prowess displayed by the group, in the percussion, the bouzouki, everything really. The chorus is breathtaking as well, soothing and moving, making it my favorite track on the album. “Follow Me Blindly” is strong, heavy, and has some of the best lyrical content, and “Downfall” reminds me of something I’d want to hear in the soundtrack of a movie adaptation of a popular dystopian novel. The beginning is quite atmospheric and transitions to another winning combination of guitar and bouzouki. There’s also a very capable solo to drive it home.

Title track “Hero” is a slow, thoughtful ballad with a powerful yet vulnerable vocal performance and stripped-down but no less impressive musical awareness. Listening to the album, I’ve yet to feel that there’s a repetitive tone or songwriting structure, and I get a better sense of the full range of the group’s talents with a song like this. Again, there’s a juxtaposition with a much heavier song, “Voices,” coming right after. The vocals in both the verses and chorus stay dark and gravelly, and it reminds me of something from KAMELOT’s masterpiece “The Black Halo,” of someone feeling betrayed. "Breaking News” keeps a similar energy but does feel more emotive and even urgent, like the group is fighting hard to get their message across. I have nothing to complain about with the final two tracks, “Wanted” and “In The Blink Of An Eye.” Again, they do keep a similar tone, but each song can hold its own, and the lyrical content is top-notch, especially because these songs close the album.

Now, it’s one thing to call your sound innovative; it’s another thing to actually deliver. I can confirm that this is one of the most satisfyingly unique albums I’ve heard in a long time. It must be intimidating to commit to a distinct sound which you might be the only band in the scene trying, especially because we know that committed Rock and Metal listeners are quite frankly hard to impress. However, it comes with its advantages, too: always being recognized for one and knowing that you are helping to push the genre forward by exploring and challenging its creative boundaries.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

1. Fortune In Lies
2. Tomorrowland
3. Daydreamer
4. Save My World
5. Follow Me Blindly
6. Downfall
7. Hero
8. Voices
9. Breaking News
10. Wanted
11. In The Blink Of An Eye
Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos – Vocals, Darbuka
Ioannis “Janni” Maniatopoulos – Bouzouki, Vocals
Markuz Berger – Bass
Christos Efthimiadis – Drums
Christoph “Brat” Tkocz – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Drakkar Entertainment


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Edited 05 December 2022

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