Andy B. Franck, one of Metal’s busiest singing bees is back, this time with the SYMPHORCE brand of Power Metal and their new offering “Become Death”. And while BRAINSTORM, his other horse, is more in the traditional Power Metal vein, SYMPHORCE always had been a little off the beaten path, also venturing into a bit different sounds to see, if the grass on the other side was greener and so far the Hamburg-based band did a pretty good job with it.
This time around we again get a skeleton of Power Metal, but there are lots of other influences putting the meat on the bones, from straight-out Thrash over some electronics, dark atmospheres down to almost Gothic Metal/Rock like sounds, so your generic sound this is not. “Darkness Fills The Sky” sets out with a very Thrashy opening, including more modern guitars and deeper vocals, but juxtaposed with a very melodic and catchy chorus, which works out very well, which is something that, on a different level, repeats itself with “Condemned”, where instead of Thrash we get some electronics and the tempo overall is slower, while “Death Has Come” brings back the Thrash. The mentioned Gothic Metal/Rock influence rears its head most in “In The Hope Of A Dream” and “Inside The Cast”, but they are embedded into irresistible melodies and do not seem out of place on the album. Sure, the die-hard fans will have to get used to it first, but once you open up to it, the class will unfold right in your ears.
Some might argue that the formula of heavy, thrashy verses going hand in hand with very catchy and melodic choruses might get old pretty quick, but even though the path is similar, the songs still differ enough to avoid uniformity. And if a song is heavy, fast, catchy and melodic such as “Lost But Found”, I don’t care about that anyways! The only song that I did not connect with was “Lies”, but that probably is just me…
In any way, SYMPHORCE continue to pack quite a punch and surprise with fresh ideas and different influences, keeping things fresh, modern and powerful, so if you are an absolute traditionalist, “Become Death” will not be something for you for sure, while more open-minded folks should gobble this CD up like a fat steak (vegetarians replace this with a giant slab of tofu)!
(Online July 20, 2007)