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Miles Beyond > Miles Beyond > Reviews
Miles Beyond - Miles Beyond

To Show That You're Still Strong... - 85%

Twisted_Psychology, July 14th, 2009

Life can be frustrating for a metalhead living in the Midwestern United States. It's a region where big bands don't come through on a regular basis with all the country's action occuring on the coasts, very little access to more obscure material is available outside of the Internet and underground record stores, like-minded musicians and fans are impossible to come by (especially drummers...), and the local music scenes are often characterized by an unfortunate lack of ambition. With all of this in mind, I'm still wondering how a band as strong as Miles Beyond came to be conceived in a place as soul sucking as Flint, Michigan...

One thing that is noticeable right away is the heavy Iron Maiden influence that persists throughout, particularly the band's first three albums with Bruce Dickinson. The guitars provide plenty of trade-off harmonies and galloping rhythms, vocalist/guitarist Tim Moody's does a better job of channeling Dickinson than any other singer that I've ever heard, and the lyrics are evenly divided between historical themes and more general ideas of unity. In their defense, most of their historical themes are those that Maiden hasn't gotten around to writing about yet (Unless there's some song they wrote about the Vlad the Impaler that I'm unfamiliar with...).

Despite establishing a particular style, the album still manages to tackle a variety of different approaches. The songs themselves tend to range from high-speed gallops ("Out of Control," "Tales of Old"), mid-tempo tracks (The title track, "Still Strong"), more theatrical borderline epics ("Hail to the King," "Crazy Horse," "A Call to Odin"), and a ballad in the form of "The Spaniard." They even break from the Maiden influence with the percussive "Take Me Back Home" and "Rock Revolution," a crunchy groove number that sounds more like something Black Label Society would release...

Personally, I think the band really seems to excel the most when dealing with the album's more theatrical tracks. "Vlad the Impaler" is made memorable by some bouncy bass playing and a memorable chorus, "Hail to the King" is full of dark guitar riffs and solos that bring to mind Mercyful Fate, and I like to think of "Crazy Horse" as sounding like "The Flight of Icarus" with the lyrics of "Run to the Hills" and some Native American sound effects thrown in for good measure. "A Call to Odin" is my personal favorite track of the lot for its inspiring guitar gallops, infectious chorus, non-cheesy spoken bridge, and the 20 second scream at the song's climax. It basically combines the best elements of power metal without sounding too goofy...

All in all, this is a very strong album in spite of a slightly unoriginal premise. Definitely one of the best bands in the area and hopefully one with a glorious future ahead of them...

Pros:
1) A great band performance
2) Great songs and song variety
3) Interesting lyrics
4) How the hell did a band from Michigan put out something this cool?

Cons:
1) The Maiden influences may hit a little too close to home...
2) The solo sections do have a tendency of running too long at times
3) A few lesser tracks here and there

My Current Favorites:
"Vlad the Impaler," "Hail to the King," "Rock Revolution," "Crazy Horse," and "A Call to Odin"

Great American Power Metal. - 90%

TheAlmightySmithy, July 9th, 2005

I was recommended this album by a friend who said that if I like Iron Maiden, I will like this little band called Miles Beyond. Feeling open to new bands, I checked the album out, and I must say I was extremely pleased with the decision.

The thing that sticks out the most about this band is that they are clearly influenced by Iron Maiden. The galloping rhythms lead by Tim Moody and Paul O sound like what you would expect from Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, the lyrical themes (historical) are what you would expect Steve Harris to write about, and Tim Moody's voice is very similar to Bruce Dickinson, even if he doesn't have quite the range.

Now, that might not sound appealing to you; why listen to a band that sounds pretty much like another one? For the most part, I agree; except in this case, Miles Beyond pulls it off very well. As similar as it sounds to Maiden, it does have plenty of originality to it, and there isn't a single bad song on the entire album.

Out of Control is a good album opener, if not just for the opening riff alone. It moves along at a good pace and gives a good look into what the band is about. The only thing I would knock on this is Tim's voice, especially in the chorus. He seems to try to hit higher range notes, and he just can't. Otherwise, a solid song.

Tales of Old continues where Out of Control left off, and that's at a fast pace. It moves along at a good pace, but otherwise sounds similar to the preceding song.

Miles Beyond is the next song, and it's got a catchy beat to it and a good feel overall. The worse thing about the song is the lyrics; it's about the band showing that they have something to prove. Well, maybe they do, but the rest of the album shows that they've proven themselves already!

Take Me Back Home is amazing. It grabs your attention from the get-go and says "You're in for one helluva ride." It gallops on and on, and though it doesn't let you take everything in right away, that's what makes it good.

Vlad the Impaler starts out with the most unique sound I've heard in a while before the rhythm gets going, and it just adds more and more elements until everything kicks in, but after that it's good ol' Miles Beyond. Steady paced throughout and a song that can easily be caught in your head. This is really the epic track of the album, and like an epic it doesn't dissapoint.

Still Strong is a song that, while good, seems like it's just too advanced for the bandmembers. It shows off their technical talent, but it doesn't feel like it's just right. They throw in a lot of ideas and it makes for a great musical experience, and while it is a good song in most aspects, it has that "they tried too hard" feel to it.

The Spaniard is the token ballad you'll find on almost any power metal album. I despise ballads mostly, and I really didn't like this one either, but it definitely has it's moments, mostly notably the mid-paced middle section.

Hail to the King gets back to what made the first two songs good. It starts out and just gallops along with a solid sound behind it. Not much else to say.

Rock Revolution is the kind of song where the lyrics are the best part about it. It pretty much says that the sound in rock is changing, even with all the complications rockers face. It isn't very deep, but it gets the message across well.

Stowaway, like Still Strong, sounds like they threw as many ideas as they could into the song to showcase their talent, only this time they do it better. Rhythm and tempo changes are heard and pulled off, and the main beat of the song moves along at a good pace.

Crazy Horse is the other epic song on the album, and if the opening drum beat was about 20 seconds shorter it would be nothing less than awesome. It gets annoying right away because it is so repetetive, but once the main part of the song starts it's got that epic feel to it. It advances steadily and keeps everything intact throughout the song.

And lastly, A Call To Odin. To me, this is the perfect closer to the album. It starts off like it would be a great opener to an album as well, but once it gets into the main rhythm things change. It does move along like Out of Control does, with a slower section thrown in. It keeps going until it builds up to the grand finale, a call to Odin... a call to Odin... a CALL TO ODIN (ODIN!). Great closure to a great album.

And that's pretty much what you can expect from this album. Each song moves along at a steady, galloping pace much like you would expect from Iron Maiden. The two epics standout for sure, but it's the surrounding songs that make it all great. Now, none of the songs are great A++ calibur in themselves, but they are all very solid and therefore make a very solid overall album. Fans of power metal and classic heavy metal will love the band that uses the framework of metal and takes it.... Miles Beyond.

Looks horrible but sounds great! - 77%

EndlessTorment, April 30th, 2005

The cover art is horrible and the first song almost made me switch it off before I’d given it a chance, but by delving further into this Flint, Michigan, outfit’s CD I soon discovered that Miles Beyond is actually a pretty decent American power metal band. The second track was a huge improvement on the opener, and then Miles Beyond delivers a 1-2-3 knock out punch with “Miles Beyond”, “Take Me Back Home” and “Vlad the Impaler”, three great, Maiden-influenced tracks of pacy, stylish heavy metal before nary putting a foot wrong for the rest of the album. With perhaps a higher level of production, some of these songs would be nothing short of amazing. The band, particularly the guitar team of Tim Moody and Paul O, have some mighty fine chops with almost every track heavy with some awesome soloing. A couple of times the songwriting becomes a little unstuck, like in “Still Strong” where they try to get a little too technical for their own good and the last minute or so of “Vlad the Impaler” that sounds like they couldn’t figure out an ending, but apart from “Out of Control” there isn’t really a bad track on here. As mentioned, there is a definite Iron Maiden influence overall from the galloping pace to the guitar melodies to the historical lyrical themes and the fine clear vocals of Moody but this is by no means a bad thing and when it’s done as well as this it’s actually a bonus.