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Uncovering new territories - 90%

kluseba, June 30th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Metalism Records

Russian trio Alexy's Square had always meandered between hard rock, symphonic rock and heavy metal in its early career but seems to have finally found its very own niche on its fifth and best output that is fittingly entitled To Leave a Mark. This timeless album focuses on melodic metal with soothing vocals and versatile guitar play that finds the perfect balance between classical piano sounds and contemporary keyboard patterns.

The melodic vocals sound highly emotional and incredibly catchy in every single tune. The versatile guitar play varies from doom metal riffs over melodic classic heavy metal riffs and solos to some more chugging and contemporary sounds. The keyboards stand out once more and vary from electronic and danceable patterns in the short, memorable and concise parts to thoughtful, soulful and melancholy piano play in the smooth, slow and introspective passages. Even the instruments that had been underused in the past such as the bass find some time to shine in a few introductions. Only the drums could sound a little bit more powerful in the mellow but fitting production. The song writing of the band has clearly progressed and matured which leads to a diversified and entertaining final result.

Highlights include the otherworldly, gloomy and keyboard-driven ''Don't Forget'' that sounds contemporary, experimental and inspired but might need a few spins to fully unfold. ''Higher'' should appeal to power metal fans as it quickens up the pace, features vivid keyboard melodies, galloping rhythm section and an irresistibly catchy chorus. ''Winter'' features wonderfully melancholic piano melodies that harmonize splendidly with soothing vocals in a comforting ballad with depth. These three quite different songs represent the different facets of this record very well.

In the end, To Leave a Mark is Alexy's Square's strongest output to date. If you like melodic heavy metal that doesn't shy away from incorporating classical music as well as electronic sounds in an ultimately balanced, entertaining and inspired way, then you should give this creative, experimental and unique record a chance. This album has enough skills, soul and style to stand out and leave a mark. It's great that there are still heavy metal records fifty years into the genre's existence that break the boundaries, offer something exciting and fresh and manage to uncover new territories.