Bedtime Prayers (Pivotal)
Sweden's Blinded Colony emerge with their second (post-name change) album, following Divine, recorded for Scarlet Records, an apt home for the band's perfection melodic death metal sound, but now ex-home. Now with a brand-new Florida label to call home, let's hope the guys can enter the tour grind on a regular basis - that is, if tolerance for Soilwork-styled bands holds up for a few more years. It's a case of too many bands this good, and not any stumble on quality, that might cause this oddly named band to be lost in the shuffle. Strengths are many, in fact, top being the smouldering, butt-shaking riffs all over this album. The keyboard washes are a nice touch too, and there's an estemm ascribed up into Mnemic and Lyzanxia but alas, vocals are generic hollering and the production is a little plastic, with that pen-on-desktop bass drum sound. Exasperation: bloody good band, yet one of way too many sorta similar, so what do you do?
Storm Warning (Gold Storm)
Storm Warning is the long-simmering, long-awaited new project conceived and whipped into shape by Mick Cervino, bassist for Yngwie Malmsteen and previously Blackmore's Night - there's even a rocked up Blackmore's Night cover, 'Storm' leaping out amusingly as the most renaissance thing on here. Cervino is chief writer and unsurprisingly he fires off some torrid Yngwie-esque bass bits - he is a master, undoubtedly. Also on board is K.K. Downing, Yngwie Malmsteen and Roy Z, each guesting on two tracks. The overall production is a little mechanistic and harsh, but that slight negative melts away under the strength of Cervino's nicely various metal ploys, from power to traditional, to prog, to an interesting progressive ballad called 'Alimentary Fable', one of many tracks that exposes the true star of this album, vocalist Matt Reardon, who is rich of voice and style. 'Screaming In Your Face' is also a favourite, given its surprise twists and Rainbow-eque vocal melodies. In fact, hell, you could almost call this thing a cross between Rainbow and Demolition-era Priest, with a little fine, fine Cornerstone and Jorn-orbit thrown in for upscale measure. There's certainly no predictable urge toward being flashy and fast - Mick writes into these strong songs just what is necessary, even if the bass trademark seems exaggeratedly prominent, not in the mix or tone - that's fine - but in the extra showcase moments as well as some of the bass lines. Still, that's expected, and like I say, he's written this thing so cannily correct, like a Bruce Dickinson solo album or something, great ideas wildly different from the last coming with each successive track. Power with purpose, shade and dimension.
Hard Reviews Page 4