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Their best; amazing achievement - 86%

fluffy_ferret, November 18th, 2007

When DC Cooper was ousted from Royal Hunt many fans around the world became dispirited, but the remedy wasn’t far off: soon, the formation of Silent Force – what you would call a super group – became official, to the childish elation of many. Since then (2000), Silent Force has released five albums, this one included. It’s been bit of a sleeper of a band though, meaning, they’ve never released a bad album, but never fully blossomed either. A band with such talent is naturally faced with high expectations, which has probably worked against them as (too) high expectations often end in disappointment, even when it’s not fair to the material. From a critical and neutral perspective, I think it’s justified to say that they can do better, though.

Their new album, Walk the Earth isn’t quite the masterpiece I know the band is capable of making, but it’s clearly their best and very close to being certifiably gold. There are, to be exact, two important reasons this is better than previous albums, but first, a description of the band’s sound:

Silent Force plays a symphonic progressive power metal similar to early Royal Hunt. The songwriting is a good match; fairly straightforward and very listenable, with a large focus on flow and melody, bolstered by a heavy symphonic element. Royal Hunt and Silent Force isn’t a perfect match though, as Silent Force is clearly a more guitar-driven band, which is kind of expected when you have someone like Alex Beyrodt as your guitarist.

And the reasons: quite simply because the songwriting and riffs are much better. Fillers are virtually non-existent. I can admit that the there’s nothing on the album as great as the first two tracks but the rest of the material isn’t far behind at all. I’m not walking out on a limb when I say that Walk the Earth is an amazing achievement in melodic metal. The album has an incredible – and I mean really incredible – flow to it and the melodies are easily the best the band has ever put out. The vocal melodies in particular stand out; DC Cooper is just an incredible vocalist and it’s especially great to see him in a band which can do his voice justice. He possesses a smooth, technically flawless voice, not especially powerful but it always has a melodic edge to it.

The riffs from Alex Beyrodt are the other main improvement. His style is more direct than ever and the riffs are incredibly catchy and forceful from start to finish. The confidence with which he plays with is astonishing sometimes. Check out those powerful, authoritarian riffs in ‘Man and Machine’, ‘Blind Leading the Blind’, ‘Walk the Earth’, ‘Picture of a Shadow’ or ‘In from the Dark’ – the man was born to play guitar.

The question is where the band can go from here. To progress from something that’s as good as this is a hard thing to do. From a clinical perspective, I guess the songwriting can be a bit formulaic at times, so maybe they should attack it from that angle. I wouldn’t complain though if they released another album in the same vein as Walk the Earth, as this is the kind of catchy and melodic metal that is always such a joy to listen to.