Sometimes it seems that you just have to wonder, if a band is still alive to be surprised by a brand new album. Latest example for this are Germany’s POVERTY’S NO CRIME, one of the top bands of the Progressive Metal genre and whose last effort “The Chemical Chaos” had seen the light of day all the way back in 2003, so no wonder I was wondering, if they had split up, apparently ongoing health problems had led to this hiatus. What had made them rather unique since their debut “Symbiosis” in 1995 was their ability to combine incredible catchiness with Prog songwriting and breaks and an overall maturity that would appeal to both Progheads as well as the fans of Melodic Metal, topped off with Volker Walsemann’s expressive yet emotional voice, which sets them apart from all the other bands out there, giving their compositions even more character than they already have.
And I am happy to announce that the quintet from Twistringen in the north of Germany has used the past four years well and has crafted yet another outstanding album, the sixth to date, continuing to follow down the path of “The Chemical Chaos” and further cementing their status as one of the country’s leading bands, even if their breakthrough still is nowhere to be seen… Anyways, opener “Open Your Eyes” is surprisingly heavy mid-tempo song, still going all the way up to double-bass, led by the crunchy guitars and the already mentioned exceptional vocals, managing the split between high accessibility and still this Prog feeling to it, giving it this mature touch to stand out, and that is just the beginning of an album that will lead you out onto the narrow ledge between accessibility and demand, meandering through both fields, but never falling off to either side.
Be it the straightness and great harmonies of title track “Save My Soul”, the incredibly harmonic balladesque balance of “The Key To Creativity”, the atmospheric grandeur of “In The Wait Loop” or the brilliant “Break The Spell” at the end, which alternates between emotionally calm and outbursts of power, any of these could be mentioned as outstanding track to check out first and even if you go beyond these you will not find anything even closely related to filler material, even when they add some Stoner touches, as on “The Torture”, the guys just know how to combine technical finesse with real songwriting that puts the song where it belongs: In the centre of attention.
Tommy Newton took over the helm of production for this album and it resulted in a heavier sound than before, which is something we rarely get in this style, it might take a little bit Progginess away, but that’s a question of taste and point of view. No matter how you try to turn this, though, “Save Your Soul” is one of my personal Prog highlights of the year and hopefully POVERTY’S NO CRIME will finally be able to taste some of the success they so deserve…
(Online October 6, 2007)