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   SYMPHORCE
PhorcefulAhead
2003
Metal Blade
http://www.symphorce.net


rating: 5/5

1. Speak My Mind
2. Unbroken
3. Slow Down
4. Longing Home
5. Moving In Circles
6. Falling Through Again
7. Your Blood, My Soul
8. Rage Of Violence
9. Touched And Infected
10. Nothin' Left
Symphorce's third album starts pretty unconventional because the guys put a rather slow track ("Speak my mind") at the very beginning of the album. I know that exactly this was their intention but that does not mean I have to like it, right? I certainly wouldn't have done so. The second track on the album for example, "Unbroken", would have been a much better option in my opinion since it's a more uptempo song and represents the album as a whole better. Then again, the album also closes with a track in the same vein ("Nothin' left"), so it kind of fits again and I don't really want to complain about that.

Anyway, in between those two songs the compositions generally are a bit faster and heavier although mostly the tracks are midtempo. Musically, one could think of a not so technical and less aggressive version of Nevermore at times but being more or less Andy B. Franck's baby the name Brainstorm somehow has to be mentioned in this review. With "PhorcefulAhead" Symphorce remind me a great deal of Brainstorm and that's not only because of Andy being vocalist in both bands. Still, they have a slight different sound. Symphorce does have a little more modern and proggy approach than Brainstorm have but all Brainstorm fans should be really happy with "PhorcefulAhead" as well. And be it only for Andy's outstanding vocals.
Most of the songs carry fantastic choruses which make those songs extremely catchy (but in no way cheesy!!) and I cannot really give examples of songs where the chorus is more addicting than on another track. Really some killer tunes there. Those are build upon mostly heavy riffs and pounding bass but some parts also are softer. The first verse in "Longing home" is rather mellow but the track gains heaviness as the song continues, "Moving In Circles" has some nice keys in it and even some weird effects for the vocals.
Speaking of keyboards: they don't play an important role as a lead instrument but are perfectly kept in the background to just add certain sounds/atmospheres to the songs. In fact, their former keyboardist H.P.Walter only appears as guest musician and was replaced by a second guitarist which is why you'll get some real heavy and good guitarwork on "PhorcefulAhead". "Falling Through Again" gets its dynamics from mellow verses and again a mighty chorus and "Your Blood, My Soul" is just catchy as hell (again).

If you enjoy riff driven power metal (with a powerful production by the way) you should definitely check Symphorce out!
Note that the limited digipack version contains three bonus tracks that are earlier versions of songs featured on the album.

submitted by Cora 18.01.2003

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