Even though power progressive metal is not my most favorite genre these days I try to follow the biggest names in the field. I was very intrigued to hear that both Andre Matos and Michael Kiske will appear on the CD by a new Brazilian band Thalion. The album, Another Sun, came out in the early 2004 through Hellion Records.
Thalion should be proud of themselves as these 20-year olds accomplished a significant feat. Not many kids their age can dedicate their lives so fully to their craft. Thus, I don’t want the review below to be misconstrued for an empty criticism. Instead, I want it to be seen as a view of just one casual fan who would like Thalion to do better next time.
Being produced by Philip Colodetti and hailing from Brazil, Angra comparisons are prevalent and valid. Even further, main songwriter/guitarist Rodrigo Vinhas cites Loureiro-Bittencourt pair as his influences and takes lessons from them. Big names in Brazilian power prog metal, Shaman and Angra, have accepted up-and-comers Thalion. It can be both a good and a bad thing. While being shown the ropes and taught a few tricks, as well as being introduced to how good productions are made, such associations may negatively impact the originality and stunt creative growth of the young band.
Foreboding intro Atmospheres does not really describe the mood of the album, as the band plunges into a happy-happy double bass Angra-like drive from the get-go of Follow the Way. I have heard these chops before, on Holy Land, and especially Fireworks. Thalion does it well, no question, but they do it again and again with ¾ of the songs using this style (Wait for Tomorrow, title track, Long Farewell). Somehow I felt that Thalion fails to make these fast power metal double bass fueled chops theirs, they don’t flow their own melodies in these sections well.
As an every respectable power prog band would do, Thalion mixes the “fast and furious” with “progressive and challenging”. These young Brazilians can experiment with rhythms and be complex, when guitarists bend their frets in Petrucci-like fashion (Life is Poetry). The leads and solos are very respectable (Follow the Way, title track). Bassist David Shalom is provided a spotlight on Solitary World where he does numerous runs and holds the whole groove together with keyboard and guitar floating over the top. These guys have been taken lessons from good teachers, no doubt, and they can play. Now they only need to hone the songwriting craft together, when the songs are original, don’t resemble each other (and another thousand of such power progressive bands), and where power and prog sections don’t just butt-end against each other, because the song has to have both. The best songs, in fact, are the more mid-paced introspective Solitary World and The Journey where excellent balance between heavy mid-tempo chords and faster bursts has been reached.
There is absolutely no question in my mind that the band thinks their female vocalist Alexandra Liambos is their asset. She does great, when she is not forced out of her shell. Singing with mid-range, dreamy vocals (The Journey), over the acoustic intro to Show Me the Answers and the orchestral ballad duet The Encounter are her forte. But, please, don’t ask her go up very high. Trying to get there and failing (“expression of sorrow” phrase on Wait for Tomorrow) – that is pretty painful to hear from a young striving vocalist. At times she sounds so very boyish, she reminds me of the boys choir on the old Soviet Communist-ear TV. The band insists on doing progressive sections in the instrumental way, so Alexandra is forced to sing mostly over fast driven power sections, and that is not where she shines. So, while an asset (it certainly helps she is quite good looking), Thalion would do well to lean on their overall musicianship more than on the looks and stature of their vocalist.
Michael Kiske does appear on the closer The Encounter, a pretty solid ballad, and next to Alexandra he sounds mature and manly, something you don’t always attribute to him.
I will definitely buy the next Thalion album, as I am curious whether the band will invent their sound and refine the rougher edges, or become another speck in the neverending stream of just above mediocre power prog.
Killing Songs :
Solitary World, The Journey, The Encounter
|Alex quoted 63 / 100|
There are no replies yet to this review
Be the first one to post a reply!