My southern neighbours (Belgium) have been making music since 1996 and that it something you can hear. As you can understand looking at the title this is their third full-length. Special about this release is that they already released 8 songs on 4 separate singles. The fans who bought all 4 of them will be able to buy the album at a much reduced price. For fans 8 of the 12 songs will already be known. It is very ingenious of the band that they succeeded in making a whole of these separate songs. Listening to the complete album you are not aware that they wrote the songs separately.
First song "The Girl with the X-Ray Eyes" is a song in power metal tempo, but without the galloping power metal riffs. Jo de Boeck has a very clean and powerful voice and in the melodic softer songs like "Oceans Apart" and "Stories Waiting to Be Told" he lifts them to a higher level. Besides that there are several more 'metallic' sounding songs like "Fear's the Killer". It is not easy to describe in words what the band all serves. They are progressive, melodic, metallic and edgy, theatrical/ bombastic ("The Darkest Page") and emotional sounding all together. The keyboards have a key-role in most parts of the music and the rhythm section is tight like a humble-bees ass. "Raise the Horns" sounds like a 70's rock song in Deep Purple kind of style, with the Hammond organs included. Next song "Hypersensitive" has the band Dream Theater written all over it. Enough variety for you to find on this album.
Fans of Pain of Salvation, Journey, Savatage/TSO ("Strength"), Deep Purple, Dream Theater etc. etc. or should I just say the general progressive rock/metal fan have another album to put their teeth into. For me personally the lyrics of the last song "Strength" are enough for me to listen to this band. It seems as if they have written just for me and for the things I'm dealing with at the moment. I quote:
I stood amidst the wreckage once the smoke had cleared from the battlefield. I overlooked the damage, worse than I had feared and I fell down and kneeled and I sighed and prayed because words just failed and I whispered "give me strength"
I woke up in the silence of a quiet room, the chosen battleground. I stared into the void, nursed my wounds and scars and I looked around and I sighed and prayed, lost for words again and I cried out "give me strength".
In the darkness I awaken, realize it's not too late, looking back on past mistakes I realize: "I'm not to blame"!
And I pray to give me strength, insight, wisdom, force and faith.
In the night I find my answers. Silently I contemplate new decisions to be taken on my course to change my fate.
Now I know I have the strength, on my feet I stand again.
Like a phoenix I arise from the ashes of my life. I stand up and hold my head up high and I shout: "I have the strength".
I thank the band for writing this song, it makes me want to go on again and leave the things that happened in the last year behind. You gave me strength!