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Voice – The Storm Award winner

Voice
The Storm
by Jon Conant at 22 December 2017, 3:08 PM

Hey everyone, fantastic news! BLIND GUARDIAN and METALLICA had a baby, and that baby is the band VOICE. So this is a fun one because these guys were around for a while…between 1996 and 2003. They split up, and are now back in 2017 with a full-length vengeance named “The Storm”. And you know what? It’s actually pretty fucking good. So the deal is this stuff sounds like an 80/90s Power Metal band wrote it, and the mixing/mastering are also in that light, so it is outdated in that sense making it difficult to draw a new crowd in 2017. But, more than that, these guys are veteran musicians who know how to put a song together, and every song is performed fantastically despite whatever stylistic setbacks they have (with the possible lone exception of track 9 and token album ballad, “When Night Falls”).

It’s not just the technical execution, VOICE also finds ways to elevate themselves above the typical Power Metal band. Instead of the flashy speed guitars, they hone in on the more chugging Death Metal-inspired Power Metal riffs, and that sound is what drives the entire album and keeps it moving. Personally I love it, and it sets them apart to me from other Power Metal bands. Beyond that they find ways to incorporate synths and piano lines beautifully as well in heavy riffs; there’s some Blues guitar, and we even hear a guitar melody in “Soldiers of Glory” that sounds like it’s paying straight homage to Folk/Scottish metal. It’s epic and beautiful.

It’s not typical to talk about an album closer and album opener at the same time, but I am going to here. For two reasons, really. One, both “The Storm” (opener) and “Out In The Cold” (closer) remind me of METALLICA and a classic Hetfield rhythm guitar riff, which provides both nostalgia and marketability. Second, “The Storm” provides a fantastic melodic intro sequence, which I will always maintain is an important aspect to any album. And then “Out In The Cold” closes the album as an epic and bold number with a natural crescendo to the final sequence of the song where it ends on one of their best guitar melodies backed by power synths fantastically written and executed. It is fantastic stuff, and I keep listening to it. That, folks, is how you properly end an album.

My favorite song on the album, at least for now, is track 3 “Go Down In Flames”. Now, is that just because I am heavily attracted to anything that includes the words In Flames? Maybe. But, it is one of the chunkier, rhythmic, Groove Metal-sounding songs on the album that brings a much heavier aspect while still retaining the Power Metal presentation. The METALLICA influence shines here a bit as well. During my first listen it immediately took me from “this album is actually decent” to “wow this album is really good.” And man, that chorus is beyond catchy, and very well sung by lead vocalist Oliver Glas.

The next track, “Business Roulette”, had me thinking negatively going into it because of the cheesy name, but it just keeps the good times rolling. More heavy, chunky guitar work that slows things down just a bit. Another excellent track, with some of my favorite vocals from Glas. It’s also begins with an epic intro, that sets everything up perfectly. It’s so Power Metal, and so not Power Metal, all at the same time. The verse riff is backed by fantastic drum filled cymbal happy percussion that segues perfectly into the faster pre-chorus lines; and holy shit that ending riff really goes. I have this one on repeat (along with “Go Down In Flames” and “Out In The Cold”…and most of the album).

“Dance On The Razor Blade” was very good but, for me, one of the more plain songs on the album; except for the fact that it opens with some of the most beautiful guitar work that slows things down. There is also a dark and powerful atmosphere brought on by other sound work. Unfortunately, after the first 30 seconds that becomes contrasted with the more typical Power Metal song structure. Let’s just describe it as “chase the dragon” verses and “save the princess” choruses. It’s fine, but kind of whatever.

“The Golden Savior” is a fun number, and in some ways feels like the most complete song on the album as a band. The bass and the drums are much more prominently featured, with an opening line where they lay down a phenomenal groove.

In fact, I would tell you that just about every song on this album is a generally fantastic piece of the album, if it weren’t for one unfortunate wrench that gets thrown into the engine. That wrench is track 9, “When Night Falls”, and I’m sorry, but it is bad. I know that there is always an obligation to slow things down with a late album ballad, but it really isn’t necessary, and in this case ruins the flow in a horrible way. Very disappointed. I mean, I get it. But I’m disappointed…

The only thing besides “When Night Falls” holding this album back for me is the 90s style and sound, and the old school mixing and mastering. But, that is overcome in the end by the powerful and epic melodies and guitar work, overall blend of styles, and cohesive nature of the album. It’s crisp, well performed, and it packs a punch.

This hands down for me was the best new Power Metal album of 2017.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Storm
2. Stronger Than Steel
3. Go Down In Flames
4. Business Roulette
5. Dance On The Razor Blade
6. The Golden Savior
7. Your Number Is Up
8. Kingdom Of Heaven
9. When Night Falls
10. Into Darkness
11. Soldiers Of Glory
12. Out In The Cold
Lineup:
Sören Glas - Bass
Thommy Neuhierl - Guitars
Oliver Glas - Vocals
Stephan Stockburger - Drums
Record Label: Massacre Records
     


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