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Probably requiring an introduction, Red Rose is an Israeli band from the northern part of the country that plays “melodic power metal” (please read: powerized hard rock, in this instance) in something along the lines of their AOR kin from Europe, but with an occasional Middle-Eastern flavor. On The Cusp Of Change is the band’s second release, this one on well-respected Scarlet Records.
Opener “When Roses Faded” would indicate to the listener that they are possibly in for a Last Days Of Utopia or Stardawn-esque hard rock/powerfest, but with reduced attention to the shredding that Domain axeman Axel Ritt is famous for. Instead, this is a bit stripped-down and often solely attentive to Leve Laiter’s competent vocals. The keyboards are also less active and a bit more standard fare than the German rocker’s standards (with the possible exception of “King Of The Local Crowd”).
While there’s nothing heavy-handed about them, the lyrics that Red Rose provide (on both this album and its predecessor) are a bit…mundane. I recognize this as a measure of personal preference, but I prefer my subject matter a bit more abstract and/or adventurous. The musicianship is tight however, and I would rarely call the album dull, though I find a few songs dragging out a bit. Most notably, this applies to the completely unremarkable mopey love ballad “Alone In The Night” and the oft-seen lyrical drudgery of “This Bitter World”.
Despite the good musicianship throughout this album, my overwhelming impression is that this just isn’t that hooky, exceptional, or entertaining for what it attempts to be. Then again, it is pretty clearly marketing itself to a more commercial audience than much power metal, and as such is a bit more relatable and basic than a great deal of metal. That said, tracks like “When Roses Faded” and “Don’t Believe These Tales” still offer some hooks and reasonable entertainment…for a spin or two. There’s not enough staying power to keep this around with all of the other marvelous material that you’re bound to happen across though. Recommended for AOR/hard rock/metal fans that enjoy an insertion of good keys and grounded lyrics, but most power metal fans won’t find much to grab onto here. Fans of bands like Evil Masquerade, Edguy, Domain, and other power metal/hard rock fusion will probably just walk away bored.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal