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Coming off a strong debut, Silent Force struck another swift blow in 2001 with their second release, Infatuator. Yes, it’s an awfully strange name for a metal album, but with the classy logo and cover artwork, one can rest assured that the contents are still very metal.
The opening track might suggest that the band took up a speed metal direction. DC Cooper sounds very different here, shrieking and screaming, and only coming down into his sonorous baritone range for part of the chorus. While the initial title track isn’t a bad tune by any means, I’m still thrown off by it. It doesn’t fit terribly well with either Cooper’s voice or the band’s general style. But when “Fall Into Oblivion” gets underway, the listener is assured that this sound isn’t the new standard.
Structure and sound are more traditional on Infatuator than the band’s debut. However, it’s also a more accessible piece of work, consisting mostly of classic German power metal with some traditional and progressive overtones from time to time. In this way, it is a small but significant change in style from The Empire Of Future, and shows the band in transition to their coming stage in Worlds Apart. “Promised Land” and “We Must Use The Power” provides a glimpse of flower metal (“TAAAAKE MY HAND, LEAD ME INTO THE PROMISED LAAAAND!”) that I don’t mind one bit. Besides, Silent Force has always been a very encouraging band, lyrically, and takes very seriously their commitment to making their fans (“The listeners of true music”) happy with the experience.
Aside from the gooey, cheesy center of the album, there are a number of quality tracks. While the cover of Judas Priest’s “All Guns Blazing” is another off-putting throwback to the first track (and not the greatest cover, at that), it is balanced with the well-composed trilogy of “Cena Libera” (a brief instrumental introduction), “Gladiator”, and “The Blade”. Clearly inspired by the motion picture of the same name (“Gladiator”, that is), the musical quality of the trilogy redeems any thoughts of it being a silly ripoff of inspiration.
The keyboard work of Torsten Rohre and drumming of pre-Rage Andre Hilgers gets more of a chance to shine throughout these songs, as does the more emotive side of Beyrodt’s guitar playing. The biggest difference is in Cooper’s vocals, however, and when he’s not shrieking like a banshee in the Priest cover and the title track, he’s showing an improvement over his work in the debut. My favorite songs here are “Fall Into Oblivion” (The real opener, if you ask me), and probably “Gladiator”. Aside from a couple of minor misfires, the material is solid. Though lyricism isn’t as consistent and jumps around, the musical growth is evident, and the band is clearly beginning to gel. The ballad has also improved, but it’s still missing the energy that fills the other songs. It’s this energy that really separates Infatuator from The Empire Of Future, despite the greater complexity of the debut.
Again, a clear recommendation for listeners of power metal, and a good piece to have for those who enjoy Cooper’s voice or some of Beyrodt’s work away from Sinner. Silent Force further embodies their name as a quietly growing group of talented musicians, and later albums will see them capitalize on this promise more fully.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal