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Another day, another symphony. - 80%

hells_unicorn, April 25th, 2011

The demise of bands are usually marked by greater interest in other projects, and the 2008 double shot of Saint Deamon and Symphonity is among the more blatant examples of an older project being jettisoned with little regard for subtlety. To be fair, Dionysus was not the pinnacle of Olaf Hayer’s career, but it did display his versatility as a vocalist in spite of being derivative and, at times, stylistically muddled. Symphonity, which is in itself a musical continuation of the rest of the band’s former project Nemesis, is much more stylistically consistent and in line with the neo-classical tendencies of Olaf’s other major works with Luca Turilli and Dushan Petrossi. In essence, the odd middle ground that was Dionysus stylistically split perfectly in half, and in Saint Deamon every modern and progressive idea went, leaving what the former probably should have been more geared towards to begin with.

But all of the intricate reflection on power metal lineup musical chairs aside, Symphonity may as well simply be Nemesis with a different singer, thus it sounds heavily similar to an Iron Mask album albeit without as much overt Malmsteen worship. “Voice From The Silence” offers up a continuous array of catchy, over-the-top, cliché melodic metal at fast tempos that any Stratovarius fanatic will be sure to gobble up in the spriteliest of fashions. These are the sort of songs that are really easy to get into yet pretty hard to get out of, offering up standard formulaic songwriting and familiar themes of esoteric love and fantasy. The album art is actually about as lofty and light as the recent output by Timo Tolkki with his new project Symfonia (note the similar sounding name), though the contents are a bit more aggressive.

The album kicks off in typical orthodox neo-classical fashion, with an instrumental intro that draws influences heavily from Angra and Arwen, themselves taking their cues from Rhapsody (Of Fire), which functions as a segue into an even more typical first full length song. “Give Me Your Helping Hand” reminds of a number of songs put out between 1995 and 2006 that were themselves types of Malmsteen’s “I’ll See The Light Tonight”. The presentation here is comparable to many other bands, but the arrangement of keyboards and baroque tonality definitely draws heavy similarities to “King Of The Nordic Twilight”. All of what is going on here is noteworthy for how utterly predictable and tried and true it is, yet is very entertaining and of a high caliber. It is literally impossible to accuse this band of being yet another fold of amateur trend hoppers, as the presentation is up to the caliber of a group of seasoned veterans, and a little research will reveal that all involved are such.

There are a few spots that are brighter than others, but largely this is a consistent, straight lined album where experiments are mercifully few in number. The ambitious 3 part title song set “The Silent” shows a small amount of variation into piano ballad territory, followed by a slow trudging epic in “In Silence Forsaken”, which is a slightly more riff happy answer to a number of slower Timo Tolkki creations such as “Eternity” and “Soul Of A Vagabond”. The high speed glory ride “Evening Star” turns the clock back to when songs were fast and triumphant, particularly in the Freedom Call and Narnia variety which is not as widely heard of today. The band even makes a little time to revisit the slower, anthem style occasionally employed by the now defunct Hayer project Dionysus in the form of a hidden song found after a brief instrumental ditty in “Afterlife”.

While definitely much more cliché than the darker, leaner approach of Saint Deamon, Olaf has staked his claim to an equally viable band here that can rival his former Swedish compatriots on stage. This is the sort of album that is pretty safe to like if you’re into the style, but doesn’t really cross over into something utterly captivating like “Visions” or “King Of Nordic Twilight”. Whoever hears this will definitely get what they pay for, though given the large number of similar sounding bands, this falls just a bit shy of being something to sell all your worldly possessions in order to obtain.

Nothing new, but Olaf Hayer fans should like it - 80%

metal_bryan, January 16th, 2011

Much like their first album under the band name Nemesis, this is just a typical neo-classical power metal release. The guitars and keyboards have shown marked improvement since that last release and the bass has found its own place in the band finally, but overall this is more of the same. There's a healthy dose of great progressive sections and cool neo-classical guitar/keyboard soloing that any fan of old Stratovarius or Rhapsody Of Fire will go giddy over. The recording quality is also improved on this release, though that is to be expected with a slightly better label (only slightly) in Limb Music.

Olaf Hayer is really the only thing which might make you want to check out this album above any other of the multitude of new/smaller power metal acts trying to break out of the underground. Similar to his performance in Magic Kingdom, he just makes the music sound very legitimate with his experience and abilites, despite how by-the-numbers the rest of the band may sound. I personally feel that the vocalist on the Nemesis album would have served better to differentiate this band from the rest, since his voice was so unlike others in this genre of power/flower metal. Olaf Hayer does an excellent job though, so this is only a small complaint overall.

Again, much like the last album, this is just a bunch of the neo-classical stuff you've already heard from many other more popular bands and you'll probably only want to check this out if you're very much into this particular branch of power metal. It's a strong release for its niche audience and I'll certainly find myself listening to it from time to time in-between some Rhapsody Of Fire or old Dark Moor.

That album cover sure is terrible though.

Excellent Power Metal! - 85%

Oakenson, September 30th, 2008

Symphonity is a symphonic (hence the name), melodic power metal band hailing from the Czech Republic, once known as Nemesis, playing what is essentially orthodox power metal with nothing particularly new or innovative happening so, for those that prefer bands who do new, "fresh" things rather than old, "been there, done that" type of things, you will probably find this album to be Stratovarius worship and nothing more, however, for those (like myself) who consider themselves enthusiasts of the power metal genre, will assuredly have a new gem on their hands with this release. Olaf Hayer, of Luca Turilli and Dionysus fame, provides (as always) beautiful, soaring and captivating vocals that we all have grown to know and love and, amidst this particular musical canvas, he shines perhaps brighter than ever.

Starting off with the very classical-esque track La Morale Dell'Immorale, we are immediately given a strong idea as to what the atmosphere and feel of the record is going to be: epic, symphonic and very classically influenced. After the short (but sweet) introduction we are then swept into the superb opening song, Give Me Your Helping Hand, which is equipped with a most glorious and majestic chorus, right up there with classics such as Stratovarius' Black Diamond and Sonata Arctica's 8th Commandment, that will assuredly get any power metal maniac's blood flowing. Following a strange, "funky" little break after the second chorus, we are then taken into the solo section which is very much inspired by the neo-classical style, showcasing a lot of harpsichord/guitar interplay as well as a keyboard solo, all of which are executed with utmost finesse and ability. Gates Of Fantasy and Bring Us The Light continue along the path of excellent speedy, melodic and catchy power metal, delivering all of the goods that the genre is well-known for. The Silence trilogy changes things up a bit, utilizing a symphonic intro (Memories) and outro (Relief Reverie) to bookend the main movement, In Silence Forsaken, which is a rather epic, mid-paced number rather comparable to Stratovarius' Soul Of A Vagabond. Evening Star closes the album as the last full-length track and, thankfully, it does the job of ending the already fantastic album with a, well, fantastic punch :) Starting off with an incredible melody, then eventually taking moments from a Mozart composition in the middle of the song (sadly I do not recall the name of the piece, though I do recognize it), we are taken on an adventure through soaring, uplifting melodic power metal that surely won't disappoint your diehard fan of the genre. The album ends with a short outro entitled Afterlife that seems to go into a "hidden track," however, I have no information on this piece although, for what it is, it is a good, more mid-paced power metal song with a guest vocalist I believe.

As I stated earlier, if you're a fan of melodic power metal you will more than likely find this album to be more than worthy, however, if you're looking for innovation and experimentation, you would probably rather seek out music with such attributes and aesthetic. All in all, this is a wonderful effort that will, more than likely, end up as my favorite debut album of 2008 - great! ^_^