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Miles Beyond > Miles Beyond > Reviews > Twisted_Psychology
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"