Allen/Lande - The Battle
The two prominent and renowned gentlemen Russell Allen (Symphony X) and Jorn Lande (Masterplan, Ark, Vagabond, to name a few) have teamed up for a hard rock project and on the paper everything is set for a very good progressive metal/rock album. Considering the persons involved in this and their background, I am surprised how little progressiveness this album brings. This could best be described as a slightly softer version of Masterplan, where Lande spends most of his days at the moment, blended with a dose of plain hard rock.
This is one brilliant piece of music. The quality of the songs are extremely high and even the ballads and semi ballads manage to get to me, and observant and faithful readers of the this website might know that that is not often the case. Needless to say, the vocal efforts are top notch and nothing else can or need to be said about them. It hardly gets any better than this. Musically, this is heavy and rich hard rock, mostly very straight forward in an almost constant mid tempo. Even though every song on the album stand out in their own way and there are no fillers, a brief remark has to made on the fact that the lack of tempo changes could make the album a tiny bit monotone to some people that need distinct twists and turns in the music.
All music on the album is courtesy of guitarist/songwriter/producer Magnus Karlsson (Last Tribe, Starbreaker) and he has done a sterling job. Great riffs in all their modesty throughout the album, strong melodies and guitar leads and together with the vocals it fits perfectly and form a perfect symbios. With relatively simple methods and a kind of naked structure of the songs, they manage to bring forth a bombastic and rich sound picture and the whole package is very well executed. Even though the album starts very good at an already high level, the have made the genius act of placing the better songs in the middle and at the end so the impression is that the album just grows along the way and the interest is on top all the way. The mid section with Come Alive, Truth Of Our Time and My Own Way simply kills.
This is a very strong album that with no doubt should appeal to anyone that appreciates either of Allens/Landes previous works. Definitly one of the best albums this year.