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Close to a Sygnet reunion - 80%

Blaze, September 17th, 2014

As a big fan of both Alex Beyrodt and DC Cooper it was a big pleasure to get to know the band Silent Force in 2000. Their first two albums, 'The Empire Of Future' and 'Infatuator' are classic metal albums to the core that kind of summarize the best elements of the rising European power metal genre of the later '90s. Their third material, the 2004's 'Worlds Apart' is a continuation of this style, but it has a more modern touch, regarding the overall sound of the band. 'Walk The Earth' is a more diverse record, as it contains some gothic and progressive elements too, but it's still a very powerful yet melodic and dark work.

In point of these statements, it goes without saying, that the expectation level was high for the next chapter of this all-star project. In 2012 I sadly took notice of DC Cooper's leaving (but fortunately for the right reason: he rejoined Royal Hunt), but knowing that Silent Force demands high quality, I was sure that they are going to find a world-class singer as Cooper's replacement. I was guessing who it can be, but I would never have thought that Michael Bormann can undertake the position, as he is mostly known from hard rock and AOR bands like Jaded Heart and Bonfire. Later I was reminded that Beyrodt, Bormann and the drummer André Hilgers played on The Sygnet album 'Children Of The Future', which is a great record. Knowing that The Sygnet later transformed into Silent Force, I approved that what we are talking about here is a mighty reunion, in which the legendary Mat Sinner participates as well.

To me, 'Rising From Ashes' promised to be the follow-up to the (1998's) 'Children Of The Future', regarding the reunion of this line-up and the fact that Beyrodt does not experiment a lot with music if it comes to songwriting. My expectation was somehow verified after listening to this album, but there were some ambiguous feelings in me. It was very strange to hear Silent Force with Michael Bormann, because he has completely different voice and vocal style from DC Cooper. I mean this new sound fits well to Bormann, but not Silent Force. I would be more satisfied if this album was released under a 'Sygnet reunion' manner. Although I can't complain at all, as Beyrodt's great songwriting style is still there, but what we've got here is a far more hard rock- and AOR-ish Silent Force than the one we got to know in 2000 with DC Cooper.

Speaking about the songs, I was sorry to hear that the opening track 'Caught In Their Wicked Game' is not entirely a Beyrodt baby, as its chorus almost completely sounds the same as the American melodic rock band Guild Of Ages 2001 song 'Wicked Game' from their second album 'Citadel' (check that song out, you won't believe your ear!). I don't know much about copyright, but in case of this song it's not just about some inspiration, it's undeniable duplication. I respect these musicians, and it's a fact that SF's version is way better and heavy than the original, but I really don't get it... Why? So this whole thing reduced my enthusiasm a bit right after the first chorus.

The rest of the album is strong and original. The highlight here is 'Circle Of Trust', which I guess function as the main single for it, as it was released in form a music video. This track is a real hard rock / heavy metal anthem with a catchy melody and chorus. It's a great song, in the vein of the Sygnet album mentioned above.

Luckily there are no slower songs or ballads on this record. At first I was afraid, because I don't know about any Bormann album, which doesn't contain at least two or three ballads. No doubt, he is good at it, but the mainman here is Beyrodt... Almost every song is great here, but only problem is that they sound so 'soft' compared to the rest of the band's discography. I am calming myself with the fact that I got used to DC's voice and style, and I can not let go of that experience.

I learned that the sound of Silent Force can change, and I can fall into any good hard rock albums as long as it is original, melodic and emotionally powerful. And this is the situation here (except that certain chorus in the opening track). I don't feel I have to rate the changing of the overall sound (from power metal to hard rock), because that has nothing to do with genuineness, but as I said it's rather a Sygnet reunion than a Silent Force masterpiece.

Shovelling the cheese - 70%

Andromeda_Unchained, February 8th, 2014

It’s with some measure of disappointment that I write this one. You see, the last Silent Force album was, for lack of a better word; awesome. The material was absolutely fantastic, with Alexander Beyrodt and DC Cooper complimenting each other through the former’s scorching guitar pyrotechnics, and the latter’s incredible vocals. Damn, I love that album, but as you can see, today I’m here to talk about its follow up. Six years on we have the cliché titled Rising From The Ashes, complete with a brand new line-up save Beyrodt and resident sticks-man André Hilgers. Rounding out the gang is a bunch of well known guys within the realms of hard rock and metal; Mat Sinner straddling the bass, Alessandro Del Vecchio tickling the ivory and ebony, and filling in the giant boots vacated by DC Cooper we have Michael Bormann, who despite a more prominent hard rock background, is no stranger to the metal scene, nor that of filling big boots.

As you can probably guess, all of these guys have distinct hard rock and AOR credentials, and part of what hurts Rising From The Ashes is the broader focus on this side of the band. Whilst I won’t deny it was there prior to this album, the difference between then and now is day and night. Rising From The Ashes, save Bormann’s vocals and some neo-classical nods, could have literally been the latest Eden’s Curse album. This is pure hard rock/power metal, with the material essentially feeling like Survivor on steroids. I’m not kidding; you could make a shit load of training montage videos with these songs.

Whilst this is a disappointing factor, it’s not the end of the world, especially if you can appreciate the hard rock/AOR style of songwriting. The album starts on the wrong foot, though. “Caught In Their Wicked Game” is the most characteristic of past Silent Force material, and certainly had me fooled. A spot on tune in itself, but I’m not sure how much I like it as the opener - given the rest of the material.. Bormann certainly sounds good, adding a degree of sleaze and attitude to the band with his husky croon. It’s when the band kick into the second number, “There Ain't No Justice” where they settle into their cheese-leaking current form; for better or worse. I do like the song, but its massive arena keyboards, and metal-lite riffing will likely function as Kryptonite to the true-blood metal fan. From here on what follows can be best described as beefy AOR, expect plenty in the way of spectacle guitar solos, eighties synths, riffs that wouldn’t be out of place on a Danger Danger album, and the trusty old soft verse, heavy chorus trick that characterized the pop metal in the eighties.

Every time you listen to this album you’ll swear your pants are tightening, gawk at your hair curling beyond redemption, stare in sheer horror at the shoulder pads forming in your jacket – which if it weren’t already leather will be soon – yeah, watch out guys and girls. Forget the DeLorean, or the Nocturnus time machine; this is guaranteed to take you back to ’88, of course through modern avenues thanks to the super slick, bang up to date production.

Truth be told, taking the band’s prior work out of the equation, this is a good album for what it is. Whilst it won’t be up to everyone’s taste, the music is without a doubt well written, performed, and produced. I just wish the metal was a little more upfront as it is in the aforementioned opening cut, or the closing “Kiss Of Death” which outside of a sleazy chorus features some fist pumping riffage. These guys are pros, and this type of fare is an area where they’re all dangerously accomplished, I just begrudge the fact it isn’t the glorious power metal album Walk The Earth is. As such, I’ll be sticking to the earlier Silent Force albums, although if a spot of jacked up AOR is on the cards, then Rising From The Ashes will be a surefire listen.