|Tomorrow's Outlook - '34613' (Battlegod Productions)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 04:30|
Sometimes it comes down to the little details. They can be important.
With this particular Norwegian 'all star' project, it doesn't come to miniscule facts like legendary vocalists such as Graham Bonnet and Michael Kiske appearing on guest slots. No, those are addenda. The details to which we refer are in the artwork within which this opus is encased - tiny, little, possibly unobtrusive factoids that draw you in and ask you "just wtf is going on here?" We're not going to give too much away, but it's all extremely clever - so clever, we had to look up the band's website to understand half of it... it's all to do with 'nerd-language', and, as we're music nerds not internet ones, we're going to leave it here... Apart from to say that, when you decipher it all (OK, let's see how many web geeks on here can decipher the album title), it IS a pretty amazing piece of album art!
And, it must be admitted, the little silver disc inside isn't that far behind, as, despite several faults - not least in the category of 'Most Cheesy Lyrics Of The Year', especially on the likes of 'Gates To Freedom' and 'The Ethereal Dream' - this is an album which ticks all right boxes in terms of pure, unadulterated, classic rock.
The overall feel of the album is one of a more melodic Manowar meeting Queensryche, Dragonforce and, appropriately enough (given the involvement of drummer Uli Kusch alongside Kiske), Helloween down a dark alley. Following the surprising introduction of 'As Darkness Falls', true opener 'Gate To Freedom' truly sets the scene, with its sweeping harmonics and soaring vocals (courtesy of Wind Wraith's Scott Oliva), before the unmistakeable vocal of Graham Bonnet takes over what is otherwise a fairly ordinary sub-power metal mid-pacer in 'Glass Mountain' and lifts it into the stratosphere with an immense performance, which sees band leader and guitarist Trond Nicolaisen truly come into his own for the first time. 'A Song For You' is a disappointing sub-Queensryche follow up and 'Doubt' is truly forgettable, before 'The Ethereal Dream' sees Michael Kiske take over vocals for a sweeping, harmonic-laden power ballad that restores the listener's faith.
The instrumental title track is a strong way to break the album in half, while 'White Lightning' is a pleasant enough mid-tempo rocker before another highlight comes rocketing out of the Scandinavian wastelands - the appropriately entitled 'Liquid Scream', which sees band mainman Mike Gorham's bassiness perfectly underpin Graham Bonnet's supreme high end screaming. 'Kill Again' lives up to it's name, being another hard edged, mid-paced hard rocker, as is 'March Of The Demons', which brings the album proper to a suitably rousing finale - leaving the more than passable cover of Lizzy Borden's 'Red Rum' and an acoustic-led reprise of 'The Ethereal Dream' pleasant but ultimately unnecessary afterthoughts.
To pick up your copy '34613' - CLICK HERE