To look at the entirety of James Byrd's career, we have to go back far into the Eighties, to a band called FIFTH ANGEL, which released two great Melodic Metal albums. Then came JAMES BYRD'S ATLANTIS RISING with an OK album, then last year the first BYRD album "Flying Beyond The 9", now we have "Anthem".
With a title like that you would expect something epic, something anthemic, but instead we get a kind of Melodic Metal with guitar-wizardry tendencies, the gentlemen Blackstein and Malmmore are not completely unknown to Master Byrd, I guess. So far so good, but there are some downsides to the whole thing, unfortunately: First off the production, which has turned out to be pretty thin, robbing the songs of much of their original energy. Then variety is not exactly the biggest asset of "Anthem", there is too much mid tempo going on without any peaks of any kind and we also get quite some shallower song writing passages.
But not that you get the impression that this an absolutely bad album, no, it is not that bad, it's just that some songs just don't seem to want to end and the keyboards push to the fore far too much, quite quickly getting to your nerves, I am sorry. Some songs are really ok, like "The Price Of War", but this album wasn't meant for me I guess and it shows... (Online January 10, 2002)