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Walk The Earth is the most modern manifestation of Silent Force’s sound, both chronologically and in terms of production. Compared with earlier efforts, Walk The Earth is sleek, heavy, and polished. As the sound has improved, so has the band’s chops. Opener “Man & Machine” is the work of a mature power metal band with full control over their sound, and it’s no fluke. As the album progresses, each member provides at least a marginal improvement in performance. Soft sections are better designed, vocal layering is easily at its best, and dynamic and tempo shifts are effortless and pristine.
If you ask me, the title track should have been the opener. While “Man & Machine” is full of energy, the titular song is packed with a variety of delicious elements, intelligent lyrics, and a trademark Cooper chorus that leaps out of your speakers in epic harmonized strains. At last keyboardist Torsten Rohre seems to be an integral part of the mix in every song. No longer overlooked, the keyboards run the gamut from classical piano to synth arpeggios layered expertly over riffing and gliding choruses alike.
I feel that this album represents the pinnacle of what DC Cooper is capable of. While always fond of layering vocals, his voice is clear, his range very good, and both highs and lows are spot on. His control and poise are near perfect, and his vocal melodies tuck in so neatly with supporting instruments that it seems the most natural thing in the world. While it can’t quite be described as collectively progressive or symphonic, Walk The Earth borders on both of these descriptors with some frequency. What it does scream at the top of its lungs is “maturity”. Perhaps Silent Force hasn’t reached its full potential, but this is a damn fine slice of power metal that places them in the upper echelon of the genre. The songs on Walk The Earth are consistently accessible, but the niche Silent Force sound is omnipresent: melodies that don’t turn out quite how you expect them to, and riffing that doesn’t quite fall in line with generally accepted arrangements.
Songs like “Walk The Earth”, “The King Of Fools”, and “Goodbye My Ghost” are from every standpoint some of the best works that the band has ever pieced together, especially the last, with it’s somber yet spirited refrain. It’s a shame that most members of Silent Force have found new homes with well-established bands (Cooper back to Royal Hunt, Beyrodt to Voodoo Circle, Primal Fear, and re-establishing his role in Sinner, Andre Hilgers to Sinner and Rage, and bassist Jurgen Steinmetz to Sons Of Seasons) at a point when everything was coming together so well. Though by most sources the band is still active and theoretically has put together some material for a fifth album, there’s been precious little press for the last four years.
There are a few low points here. “My Independence Day” is not a remarkable tune, and the George W Bush voiceovers in “Blind Leading The Blind” are definitely not a favorite, though the song itself is good enough. Although this album lacks the sheer exuberance of Worlds Apart, I find it to be a more fulfilling listen, if less upbeat.
Still, those yearning for power metal excellence will find Walk The Earth to be a very rewarding listen, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime fast. Even if it turns out to be the last hurrah of a band that brought its members to heavy metal prominence, Walk The Earth is a substantial achievement featuring a well-oiled machine that learned and continuously became more efficient over its lifespan. Few enough bands are as consistent as Silent Force, and improve as consistently. Walk The Earth is a modern power metal essential, and a crescendo of talent and cooperation.
Original review written for Black Wind Metal
Germany’s Silent Force have returned with their 4th full-length CD, entitled ‘Walk The Earth’. American vocalist, DC Cooper is undoubtedly the face of Silent Force, with his exceptional voice and brilliant range. The ex-Royal Hunt singer formed Silent Force in 2000 with ex-Sinner and ex-Primal Fear guitarist, Alex Beyrodt. With 3 solid CDs under their belts, ‘Walk The Earth’ is now here and is set to continue the band’s trend of solid sounding, melodic power metal.
I am still fairly new to Silent Force and have only heard one of their CDs in its entirety, that being their 2nd CD, 'Infatuator'. I have heard bits and pieces from their first and 3rd CDs however, and so far I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve heard. With looking for comparisons to other bands, Silent Force does have similarities with bands such as Masterplan, Kamelot, Brainstorm, Sinner and Stratovarius; but doesn’t sound exactly the same as any of those bands.
‘Walk the earth’ has a nice mix of tracks, including fast-paced rockers, mid-paced numbers and slower ballad-type songs. One thing that all the tracks have in common is catchy choruses. Of course, D.C. Cooper is again outstanding on vocals and guitarist Alex Beyrodt continues to show off his skills as a great axe man.
Silent Force seem to have found their niche on how they want to sound after their first 2 CDs. From ‘World’s Apart' (3rd CD) and now with ‘Walk The Earth’, Silent Force have settled nicely and becoming much more consistent. The quality of the songs on ‘Walk The Earth’ is exceptional, with hardly any weak points or dull/boring moments. Production is another high point here, as it is pretty much flawless. Strong, full-sounding and crunching guitars and bass, and drums that don’t take over the tracks, whether being too deep or too light. Sound-wise, nothing less than crystal clear. And all this capped off with DC Cooper’s outstanding vocals, sounding as perfect as ever.
Although the tracks on the whole CD are very good, some of the top standouts are as follows:
The opening track, “Man & Machine” starts things off with a bang. After a slow start and a slow wailing guitar, you hear the opening riff and song rumbles along with double bass-pummeling and DC Cooper’s aggressive yet soaring melodic vocals leading the way. The title track, “Walk The Earth” is another great song. After a crunching start with the drums and guitars, the song suddenly turns soft and slow, with Cooper's voice sounding angelic, especially with a piano playing in the background. This is short-lived however as the main part of the song kicks in, and we are in for another fast-paced masterpiece with a very catchy chorus and a ripping solo.
“The King Of Fools” starts out with a awesome opening riff after a short acoustic intro, and the song rocks hard, with DC Cooper giving us a singing lesson. He breaks out the high-pitched wails in parts during the song, which kicks total ass. We are treated with yet another top-notch guitar solo and one of the best and catchy choruses on the CD. The very next track, “The Child Within”, is a mid-paced song, which chugs along very nicely with 80s sounding beats and riffs. Again, the chorus and Cooper’s vocals are the highlights. “Goodbye My Ghost” is another mid-paced rocker, with down-tuned crunching guitars, heavy bass and eerie sounding keyboards. The song contains gothic rock elements and would fit nicely on any Entwine CD. Cooper’s voice stays low and melodic throughout the track and is rather different than the other tracks on the CD.
I won’t spoil the fun by giving away the entire track description, so I’ll leave the rest for you to discover. Overall, I am greatly impressed and surprised with ‘Walk The Earth’. Hearing ‘Infatuator’ back in 2001, I enjoyed the CD, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. But now, Silent Force have found their sound, mainly since their 3rd CD and have improved a hell of a lot. DC Cooper is reason alone to check this band out if you have yet to do so. If you are a fan of the bands mentioned earlier, and including other bands such as Primal Fear, Edguy and Judas Priest, you will enjoy Silent Force.
Take a bow, Mr. Cooper and Silent Force. You have made one top-notch CD here and certainly deserve all the praise you will receive.
When DC Cooper was ousted from Royal Hunt many fans around the world became dispirited, but the remedy wasn’t far off: soon, the formation of Silent Force – what you would call a super group – became official, to the childish elation of many. Since then (2000), Silent Force has released five albums, this one included. It’s been bit of a sleeper of a band though, meaning, they’ve never released a bad album, but never fully blossomed either. A band with such talent is naturally faced with high expectations, which has probably worked against them as (too) high expectations often end in disappointment, even when it’s not fair to the material. From a critical and neutral perspective, I think it’s justified to say that they can do better, though.
Their new album, Walk the Earth isn’t quite the masterpiece I know the band is capable of making, but it’s clearly their best and very close to being certifiably gold. There are, to be exact, two important reasons this is better than previous albums, but first, a description of the band’s sound:
Silent Force plays a symphonic progressive power metal similar to early Royal Hunt. The songwriting is a good match; fairly straightforward and very listenable, with a large focus on flow and melody, bolstered by a heavy symphonic element. Royal Hunt and Silent Force isn’t a perfect match though, as Silent Force is clearly a more guitar-driven band, which is kind of expected when you have someone like Alex Beyrodt as your guitarist.
And the reasons: quite simply because the songwriting and riffs are much better. Fillers are virtually non-existent. I can admit that the there’s nothing on the album as great as the first two tracks but the rest of the material isn’t far behind at all. I’m not walking out on a limb when I say that Walk the Earth is an amazing achievement in melodic metal. The album has an incredible – and I mean really incredible – flow to it and the melodies are easily the best the band has ever put out. The vocal melodies in particular stand out; DC Cooper is just an incredible vocalist and it’s especially great to see him in a band which can do his voice justice. He possesses a smooth, technically flawless voice, not especially powerful but it always has a melodic edge to it.
The riffs from Alex Beyrodt are the other main improvement. His style is more direct than ever and the riffs are incredibly catchy and forceful from start to finish. The confidence with which he plays with is astonishing sometimes. Check out those powerful, authoritarian riffs in ‘Man and Machine’, ‘Blind Leading the Blind’, ‘Walk the Earth’, ‘Picture of a Shadow’ or ‘In from the Dark’ – the man was born to play guitar.
The question is where the band can go from here. To progress from something that’s as good as this is a hard thing to do. From a clinical perspective, I guess the songwriting can be a bit formulaic at times, so maybe they should attack it from that angle. I wouldn’t complain though if they released another album in the same vein as Walk the Earth, as this is the kind of catchy and melodic metal that is always such a joy to listen to.