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Reviews (Sinergy [x2], Subterranean Masquerade, Iced Earth)

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Joined: 26 Apr 2000
Posts: 1074
Location: Middleton, WI

PostPosted: Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reviews (Sinergy [x2], Subterranean Masquerade, Iced Earth) Reply with quote

Grading scale:
1-Forget it
And of course, everything in between counts. Remember, 5 is average. Anything an 8 and above deserves a serious look into.



Not being a big fan of most "power metal," and not being a fan of Children of Bodom (in fairness to that band, I only have one of their CDs), I surprisingly really enjoyed Sinergy's latest release "Suicide By My Side." I liked it enough where I thought it was worth my while to go back and pick up their first two releases.

"To Hell and Back" is a classic power metal type release. It has typical power metal riffing, lead fills, drum stylings. But Kimberly Goss is what separates Sinergy for most other power metal bands. Her voice is great (perfect combination of beauty and "edge") and her sense of melody is fantastic. "To Hell and Back" tears right off with the quick "The B*tch Is Back" and then heads into the "I Want Out"-ish (Helloween) riff inspired "Midnight Madness," which for me represents the high point of this release. Most of what follows is great power metal whose guitar playing sometimes veers into the melodic Swedish type of riffing, only to be pulled back by classic metal riffs. Even the mid-tempo (and dangerously-too-close-to-commercial) "Wake Up In Hell" could be considered a highlight.

Fans of traditional/power metal bands should definitely give this one a listen.

Final grade = 8.5



The first Sinergy release. I was really looking forward to hearing this one because of Jesper Stromblad's (In Flames, who I am a big fan of) contribution.

Beware the Heavens is pretty similar to the other Sinergy releases. Really all of their CDs pretty much follow the same formula. Of the 9 tracks on this, there are 7 full songs and 2 instrumentals. As with "To Hell and Back," there are no losers present. For me the highlights were "The Fourth World" and "Swarmed."

Yeah, some of the lyrics on this are pretty cheesy. But my biggest gripe about "Beware the Heavens" is that it really needed one or two more songs. It's pretty odd that I mention this, because I am a big fan of short CDs. But with only 7 full songs, and a playing time of under 35 minutes, this CD really did need one more song to beef it up a little. But hey, in the end this was 35 minutes of pretty good stuff. Once again, fans of traditional/power metal should check this out....just check out "To Hell and Back" first.

Final grade = 7.5



Subterranean Masquerade is one of those trippy, psychedelic, metal type bands that just try to stick everything into their music. I would try to describe it but it's pretty hard. There are two tracks on this, one that is about 7.5 minutes and the other 10 minutes. The vocals range from clean to rough to whispers. There is acoustic and electric playing, and the moods of the songs shift wildly.

If there was ever a release that took a few listens to digest, this is it. At first I hated it, because it seemed like one of those things that was trying to be different and strange just for the purpose of being different and strange. Then after a few listens I started to get the "direction" of the first song "Temporary Psychotic State." It has some cool parts, but never reaches the point where it overwhelms me. The second track "Observation Through Metamorphosis" is just too long for me and drags on forever.

In the end it's a release I just couldn't get into. Maybe it would serve as a good "mood piece" for some folks, but there just wasn't enough here too really be memorable for me.

Final grade = 4.0



I frickin' love Iced Earth. There was really no reason for me to buy this, because I already knew I had everything that would be on this. But it was pretty cheap, has some liner notes/artwork, and I figured that the running order of the tracks might cast a different light on some of the songs.

Generally when I buy a live release, or a best of collection, I don't look at the track list before listening to it. I like to be surprised, and listen to what was included (and note what was not included) and just kind of feed off the vibe it gives me.

All that being said, in my opinion this is a horrible collection.

First off, it doesn't appear that any thought went into picking which tracks went on this. In fact, it seems like whomever constructed this wasn't even a fan of Iced Earth. For instance, the only songs included from "Burnt Offerings" is the first two songs on that release. The only songs included that originally appeared on "The Dark Saga" was the first four songs on that release (the "Alive In Athens" version of Violate was substituted). The only songs that originally appeared on "Something Wicked This Way Comes" was the first four songs on that release. "Horror Show," the first three songs. You get the picture.

And from that you can figure out some of the songs that aren't on this set. "Dante's Inferno," "A Question of Heaven," "Dracula," anything from the "Something Wicked" trilogy...all absent here. Also, each of the two discs are just over 60 minutes, so they easily could have fit another 25 minutes of music over these two discs.

...not to mention they split up "Angels Holocaust" and "Stormrider." Need I say anything else?

Final grade = 3.0


Other recent grades:

Apocalyptica/Reflections Revised (CD + DVD) = 10.0
Orphaned Land/Mabool -The Story of the Three Sons of Seven (2 CD) = 9.5
Black Sabbath/Black Box - The Complete Original Black Sabbath (1970-1978) (8 CD + 1 DVD) = 9.0
Therion/Lemuria-Sirius B (2 CD) = 8.5
Beseech/Drama = 8.0
Death Angel/The Art of Dying = 8.0
The Duskfall/Source = 8.0
Ayreon/Universal Migrator Part I and II (2 CD) = 7.5
Dark Tranquillity/Exposures - In Retrospect and Denial (2 CD) = 7.5
Dream Theater/Tokyo, Japan 10/28/95 (2 CD) = 7.5
Lullacry/Be My God = 7.5
Poisonblack/Escapexstacy = 7.5
Disillusion/Back To Times Of Splendor = 7.0
Dream Theater/Master of Puppets = 7.0
Grip, Inc/Incorporated = 7.0
Lacuna Coil/Comalies (Ozzfest Edition) (2 CD) = 7.0
Amaran/Pristine In Bondage = 6.5*
Extol/Synergy = 6.5
Dream Theater/When Dream and Day Unite Demos 1987-1989 (2 CD) = 6.0
Skyfire/Haunted By Shadows (EP) = 6.0
Soilwork/The Early Chapters (EP) = 5.5
King Diamond/The Dark Sides = 5.0
Skyfire/Timeless Departure = 5.0
Stormlord/The Gorgon Cult = 5.0
In Flames/Soundtrack To Your Escape = 4.5
Blind Guardian/Live (2 CD) = 4.0
Evergrey/The Inner Circle = 4.0
Orphaned Land/The Beloved's Cry = 3.5
Tad Morose/Modus Vivendi = 3.5
Wolverine/Cold Light of Monday = 3.5
Iron Maiden/Eddie's Archives (6 CD) = 3.0

* = after further listens, this release should have a higher grade
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Location: Pittsburgh,PA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2004 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the only tracks on To Hell and Back I really liked were the opener and Lead Us To War. I thought the rest of the tracks were at times were derivative and had some good ideas that went nowhere. Beware the Heavens was pretty mediocre throughout.
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General Zod

Joined: 24 Jan 2001
Posts: 2519
Location: Krypton

PostPosted: Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As always, good reviews.

I really liked "Suicide by my Side". Anyone know when their next CD might be released?

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