Level 10 is
pretty much Primal Fear with Russell Allen on vocals. And that’s a statement
which is both truthful and misleading. Here’s why...
One of the
first things to strike me is that “Chapter 1” has an unambiguously Classic
U.S.A. Metal sound, despite the German presence in the line-up. Some riffs and
solos, in fact, seem taken directly off Racer X’s “Street Lethal” album from 1986.
There are other comparisons I cannot help noting. For example the intro riff of
‘Voice of the Wilderness’ sounds like a Power Metal version of Black Sabbath’s
‘Heaven and Hell’. And the spiritual presence of a “Painkiller” era Judas Priest
often makes an appearance. Therefore there’s a strong sense of ‘déjà vu’ in this
album, especially when scrutinised with a Traditional Metal lens.
“Chapter 1” apart, however, is the music’s incisive delivery, the quality of the
sound, the quality of song writing... in short the overall quality of
the material. And boy, believe me when I say there are some killer songs here. ‘One Way Street’ is not the album’s fastest song but the way the keyboards, hand
percussions and heavy riffs interact, in addition to a catchy chorus and great
guitar solos, make for a truly fantastic listening experience. ‘All Hope Is
Gone’ is a cheesy but enjoyable power ballad. ‘Blasphemy’ is the closest the
album gets to Symphony X and is another good song.
which... as far as vocals are concerned, Russell Allen sounds just like he does
in a Symphony X environment with his ubiquitously-layered vocal harmonies. And,
once I’m pinpointing band members, guitarist Alex Beyrodt’s style of playing in
this album often got me thinking of Jake E. Lee (Badlands, Ozzy Osbourne).
Alessandro Del Vecchio succeeds in embellishing the songs without overstaying
his presence as a keyboardist.
the name-dropping, “Chapter 1” doesn’t really need to stand on the shoulders of
giants. It’s that good.
vocals (Symphony X, Adrenaline Mob, Allen/Lande)
bass (Primal Fear, Sinner)
guitars (Primal Fear, Sinner)
drums (Annihilator, Primal Fear, Rebellion, Voodoo Circle, Missa Mercuria)
Alessandro Del Vecchio:
keyboards (Edge Of Forever, Silent Force, Eden’s Curse)