Silent Victory, No Sacred Ground, 2009

silent victory - no sacred groundIt was fun reading in the booklet where the title of this album came from. Sure something I recognize, being in a band myself. And to not spoil the mystery, get the album yourself if you want to find out 😉

So on to the music. Silent Victory play a mix of hard rock and NWOBHM, with keyboards throwing in the occasional progressive influences as well. In all honesty, it took some effort getting into the album and I have been wondering why that is. Part it may be due to the voice of Tony Rimmer, whose voice is not bad, but is not 100% on key and sounds like he sings on the top of his lungs a lot. But after some time you get used to that.
Another factor might be the sound. Heavy emphasis on vocals and guitars, with the bass providing the foundations. Drums and keyboards are fairly low in the mix. Overall this results in a Cd with little sonic variation. But as always, maybe you think different, just my opinion.

On the other hand, I am quite sure this is a fun outfit to watch live, as their songs are easy to identify with, lots of hooks and adequate musicianship.  Choruses get a lot of repetition. I like the songs where they expand into the more progressive side of things best. Those are sounding fresh, closer to a band like Magnum. Guitar solos and interplay are well done also.
So good job, yet they deserve to improve on production level.

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D´AccorD, Self Titled, 2009

d´accord - sameThe Norwegians of D´AccorD were so kind as to send me their 2 albums they released so far. Their first one, only bearing the band´s name, was released in 2009 and contains 5 songs that together give us almost 45 minutes of seventies symphonic rock.
That means some long songs, mellotron, hammond, flute, vintage guitars and that warm analogue sound. First impression is they must be into bands like Jethro Tull, Queen, Genesis and cohorts, because that is what it reminded me of at first play.

First song is Play By The Hall Rules and manages to capture the listeners attention the whole 12 + minutes. Not bad! Lots of dynamics of course, with Mellotron playing centre stage with haunting sounds. Next up is This Is The One that has a lot of early Jethro Tull references. Of course any band with a flute will hear that. But I don´t think they copy. It is more of an inspiration I think. So the song still stand on it´s own and does not resemble anything by Tull. Next is Bin, a slow song at first that builds into another Tull reference, with flute breathing and all. Still many good ideas, with fun instrumental parts where sometimes a little freaky guitar is unleashed. Time To Play opens with a Fender Rhodes like sound before the band kicks in. Many sides to this again, and another one that proves they know how to keep their audience interested.   Last one is called Capitale Venditio and with over 13 minutes is the longest track on offer.

A band that carries their influences on their sleeves, but still write good original songs that provide a good listening experience. For anyone who still loves the seventies to death, a safe buy! I am looking forward to their recent release Helike, which you can expect the coming weeks.

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Oceans Of Night, The Shadowheart Mirror, 2009

oceans of night - the shadowheart mirrorMulti-instrumentalist Scott Mosher is becoming a regular here on YourMusicBlog. Not so long ago I wrote about the second Oceans Of Night album, which I liked very much. So with some help from Scott I completed his whole discography. His older solo albums are already signposts of what Oceans Of Night is. The combination of ambient keyboards and progressive metal is already showing it’s face there. But with help from singer Scott Oliva he has raised the bar.

Yet in all honesty I feel this album is a stepping stone for the Scotts. While it still holds the ideas and music Mosher stands for, it does not rival it´s successor in every department. Partly because the drums are programmed, and sound like it. Partly because in some tracks the guitars and keyboards are fighting each other, instead of adding value. This is a equalizing thing I think.
If we listen past that, we again find an album full of original ideas, competently written and performed. Variety is key, yet the guys know they need melodies and creative instrumental ideas to hold the listeners attention. And succeed, as everyone into progressive metal accepts numerous listens and not expects every track to be instant.

So another good album, and if the progression from album 1 to album 2 is a promise for the future, I personally cannot wait for the next CD to get finished.

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Alias, Never Say Never, 2009

alias - never say neverThanks to Andrew McNeice from MelodicRock.com we are finally able to enjoy the lost Alias album aptly called Never Say Never. Carried by the immense voice of Freddy Curci we get 17 tracks of quality melodic rock. In the band also the famous mister Marco Mendoza on bass, co-songwriter Steve DeMarchi on guitars, Larry Aberman on drums, Robert O’Hearn and Denny DeMarchi on keyboards.

Listening to this, it is hard to understand why it never got released in the day… Must have been that grunge wave washing all rock bands from the public eye.
But anyway, times have changed again (thank God!) so here we are. This album is full of that infectious feel good rock that makes all fans of the genre stick to the style. So the choruses are catchy, harmony vocals in abundance, good musicianship and while being keyboard heavy, still enough guitars and solos to rock! Despite being smooth in overall feel, I never got the feeling the band cut their corners short. So enough variety to last!
And with 4 bonus tracks we get value for money as well. Buy it!

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