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They still carry the torch! - 80%

Xeogred, February 9th, 2007

Scanner, quite possibly the greatest European Power Metal band around, sadly gets so overlooked. I was a bit surprised to see this album had no reviews already, so here I am to make it clear. This is still the glorious Scanner that released the epic and flawless masterpieces "Hypertrace" and "Terminal Earth". Not as legendary per se, but this is still an incredible release and example of good power metal with an aggressive edge to it. And honestly, looking at other releases during 1995, besides Gamma Ray's "Land of the Free", or Running Wild's "Black Hand Inn", there just wasn't much out at this time of this calibur. It was definitely a sad time for US Metal. Europe however seemed to keep the metal slightly flowing, this being a perfect cult example.

Scanner is best known for their Sci-Fi fantasy themes and lyrics. Though this album seems a little more straight forward than the previous too, it still retains a lot of dark futuristic atmosphere that filled the others. Definitely making it quite unique and just all around awesome. Their insanely weird progressive, complex structures are still in tact as well. This is easily some of the most original stuff you'll ever hear. They may be thrown in the Power Metal genre, but their buildups, riffs, solo's, and everything are pretty over the top and unique. A lot of metal out there gets mimicked, however I have yet to hear any other band out there sound anything like Scanner.

The lineup here is pretty strong, especially when you look at vocalist Leszek Szpigiel (whom Scanner managed to keep around for this album and the next. They've always had a hard time keeping a consistent lineup, so it was refreshing to see this great vocalist appeared on two of their releases). He really fits their style just perfectly. He has a high range like Michael Knoblich (Hypertrace), though his voice isn't as bouncy. And he's got an aggressive touch to his voice, very much like S.L. Coe (Terminal Earth), though Leszek definitely has a greater range over him. Basically, you could say Leszek is a great combination of both Scanner's previous two vocalists. So far, he's probably the best vocalist Scanner has had.

The production is pretty much just like the previous releases. Its good production, but not over the top, and the sounds and everything to the instruments give off a raw feel to them. This isn't your generic happy, sing along European Power metal. This is truly METAL.

The instant you play this, you'll be hooked. All the way through, its nonstop over the top German speed metal at its finest. You'll gallop to the insane rhythm's, cringe to the incredible choruses, drool over the melodic riffs and solo's, and sit in awe with the futuristic themes and atmosphere. Sadly, there is a single song on here that doesn't belong on here at all. "Wrong Lane Society", completely ruins the moment of perfection. This song sounds completely out of place, sounding way too much like a typical glam metal song. Yes, I just said glam metal. I truly am never too critical when it comes to amazing metal like this, but this song really does not need to be on here. Luckily the next track "20th Century Crusade" crushes it finishing the album off to a great ending.

All in all, this is perfect Power Metal, with enough of an sharp edge to just simply be called Speed Metal. Absolutely do not let the term "Power Metal" shrug this one off, because I know it does for some people. Fans who really enjoyed Helloween's first two Keeper albums and want something more like that, look absolutely no farther. And for cult fans of the great Scanner, if you haven't heard this one yet, then you've got a problem. Get it, now! This would also certainly be a great introduction to the band, but it sits just barely under "Hypertrace" and "Terminal Earth". However, its much better than what would become of their next release, "Ball of the Damned", which seemed to lack consistency. Alright, I'm dragging this out ... what are you doing? GET THIS NOW!!!