Talk about leading with your best foot. TEARS OF ANGER had me tapping my foot along with the first chorus on opener “In The Shadows” and thinking that I’d finally found 2006 Prog release worth raving about (besides “Degree Absolute”). Unfortunately, my enthusiasm was quickly cooled as the CD progressive.
TEARS OF ANGER was formed in the early 1990s as a duo with brothes Benny (guitar) and Björn (vocals) Jansson. Eventually they got together a full band and released a full-length, “Still Alive,” in 2004. The non-Jansson members, Johan Niemann (THERION, DEMONOID) on bass and Daniel Flores (ZOOL) on drums, are also in MIND’S EYE and HUBI MEISEL.
“In The Shadows” starts off with a dark, slightly unbalanced riff that’s got me in a rolling, measured head bang before the chorus starts an almost majestic descent. I’m totally getting into the image they’re painting of loneliness in a dark, decaying city, where the darkness and sparsely tight confines are suffocating me. Fantastic. I’m a little less excited for “Spirit Running Free,” as the opening would be comfortable on a slow-paced Neo-Thrash track until about the twenty second mark before breaking into the band’s more normal Melodic/Progressive sound with some AOR around the edges. The chorus is nice once, but it gets old fast.
From “Tears In My Eyes” on, however, the songs blur into an amorphous mass only recognizable by the annoyingly catchy choruses. Okay, “I Hate You” sticks out a bit with its extended piano parts and “Full Of Lies” is a lot of fun when Björn isn’t singing (not that he’s bad, but it gives the rest of the band a chance to explore), but besides that I really have a hard time telling where, say, “Scene Of The Crime” ends and “How I Will Live” begins. There’s always the Melodic/Progressive mindset with slower, AOR staccato riffing that slows down for the chorus or the bridge leading into the bridge.
What a really disappointing switcheroo. “In The Shadows” had so much promise. I hope the band takes their time for the next album to give us something that lives up to that promise in more than just one song. (Online May 19, 2006)