Just a few months ago I reviewed the debut of Greek INNERWISH, “Waiting For The Dawn“ (1998), hoping for the now rotating album “Silent Faces”. Founded in 1995 the gentlemen from Athens and surroundings recorded just this debut in 1997 and a mix of Heavy and Power Metal it had been that reached my ears, a bit bumpy still here and there and with a less than great sound, but the potential already had been obvious.
After that they went through a whole bunch of line-up changes until they finally found their current team shortly before entering the studio for “Silent Faces”. Recorded in Athens’ G-Studios, together with Roberto “Lia” Liapakis” (VALLEY’S EVE, MYSTIC PROPHECY, JACK STARR’S GUARDIANS OF THE FLAME and Mr. Nice Guy overall), the sound is top from the very beginning and also in almost all other aspects the Greeks have made a big step forward.
The opener “Dancer Of The Storm” sets out nicely powerful with driving double-bass (but still a variable rhythm), expressive, powerful and most of all damn good vocals by Babis Alexandropoulos, who also has an excellent English pronunciation, plus quite un-European sounding guitar work, the comparison in the info sheet with bands such as RIOT or JAG PANZER is not wrong, even though especially the vocals bring in the European side into their sound.
So a very good start is made, you won’t find much originality with INNERWISH, for that there just are too many bands in this style, but the quintet simply convinces by a high level on the instruments, fluid arrangements and good harmonies and hooks, plus a powerful rhythm section, which is further accentuated by the transparent and powerful, but never too perfect production.
“Hold Me Tight“ then is far more rooted in the European sound, driving, melodic, with some well and discreetly used choirs and strongly sawing guitars, while “If I Could Turn Back Time“ is no Cher cover version, but a completely cohesive, very catchy and melodic (yet never shallow) song, followed by the very varied “Midnight Call“, which combines crashing guitars with charming keyboards and a very memorable chorus, so far a great album!
“Hold On“ breaks through the speakers with a really big riff, driving, heavy guitars, again a bit American sounding, with super melodic, European chorus, also very good, but there is still something big coming in form of the title track, with atmospheric/epic beginning, a sort of widescreen song, if you want, with a big classical Rock influence and a very strong vocal performance by Babis. And at the end we then get “Realms Of Tomorrow”, with a lot of twin guitars and a ton of riffs.
I must say that I had quite some hopes in INNERWISH after the debut and they have been absolutely fulfilled with “Silent Faces”, at times even surpassed, because even though, as mentioned before, the songs are not the most original material, the quality of performance, composition and arrangement is more than right. There are no fillers, but instead several killers, so who would like to hear something fresh that sounds neither completely American nor European, but somewhere in between, then INNERWISH will be right at your disposal! (Online July 1, 2004)