Reviews November/00

Styx & REO Speedwagon / Arch Allies -Live at Riverport / SANDD004


Styx and REO Speedwagon together live! Tracklisting:
Styx: Blue Collar Man; Grand Illusion; Foolin' yourself; Lady; Brave New World; Edge of the Century; Heavy Water; Too much Time on my Hands; Renegade; Blue Collar Man(w/ REO jam version); Roll with the Changes(w/ REO jam version).
REO Speedwagon: Don't let him go; Music Man; Take it on the run; Can't fight this Feeling; Time for me to fly; Back on the Road again; Keep on loving you; Roll with the Changes; Ridin' the Storm out; 157 Riverside Avenue; Blue Collar Man(w/ Styx jam version); Roll with the Changes(w/ Styx jam version).

Styx are back with a line-up featuring James Young on guitars & vocals, Tommy Shaw on guitars & vocals, Glen Burtnik on guitars, bass & vocals, Lawrence Gowan on keyboards, guitars & vocals, Todd Sucherman on drums and special guest Chuck Panozzo on bass - and it seems that the bad vibes in the band has been changed, because all tracks are played with a lot of enthusiasm and power!
The tracks featured on this blast of a live-record covers most of Styx albums and genres from the rockers "Edge of the Century" and "Heavy Water" to the grand and pompous "Renegade" in a nice tight production.
The musical abillities of these guys should known to every fan - but Sucherman's drums are VERY good, the choir work is VERY good and the spirit and vibe is as fresh as ever - Lawrence Gowan has brought new enery and excitement to the live parts - I'm looking forward to a new album.
REO Speedwagon featuring Neal Doughty on keyboards, Kevin Cronin on lead vocals & guitars, Bruce Hall on bass, Dave Amato on lead guitar and Bryan Kitt on drums is put on CD # 2 but they are as ready as ever.
All the hits are there from "Can't fight this Feeling" to "Keep on loving you" - but the production is a bit muddy in the beginning and Mr. Amatos guitar is far behind. Along the tracks the technicians cathes up and gives all musicans the possibility to shine - very powerful and professional!
Personaly I'm impressed by the vocal abilities from Mr. Cronin - he reaches notes that I can only imagine in my dreams and Amatos fret work is absolutely outstanding.
Maybe this experience with two top names on one bill has given both bands the courage to let new feelings into the group thing. The two jam session tracks are very "jammy" with a lot of fun and jokes - a very happy record, indeed!

Silent Exile / Dancing with Death / Independent-Naivlys Music SE0001


Silent Exile - one of Canadas best progressive bands! Tracklisting: The Brain Dance; Walls of Society; Stratosphere; Broken Dreams; On the Hill; Glase Maakerstrat; Images of War I)Thunder of Ashland, II)Silent Witness.

Silent Exile are from the Montreal area in Canada. This canadian five-piece featuring Chriss J.Y on vocals, Fabrice Blanchet on guitars, Cedric Rioux on keyboards, Sylvain Gagnon and Denis Ainsley on drums.
They are in my opinion one of the best new prog bands around at the moment! Their flair for good melodies and fascinating arrangements is outstanding - and combined with their young enthusiasm they remind me of Swedish band A.C.T.
The whole album is well produced for a independent release and allows every instrument to breath and grow. All musicians are well trained and especially the guitar is well dozed. But companionship among keyboard, guitar and singer is very good - and combined with a fine rhythm section it all works very fine.
Many song on the album is very progressive but a track like "Broken Dreams" has a lot of AOR in it, too! And even the most epic passages on concept songs like "Images of War" and "Glase Maakerstrat" never looses its sence for melody - very impressive, indeed!.
All in all I would call Silent Exiles "Dancing with Death" the most welcomed new experience in the progressive genre this year - lets hope that this release will give the band the opportunity to release a full scale album with a large budget - what a perspective! Fates Warning & Dream Theatre beware of Silent Exile.

Rhapsody / Dawn of Victory / LMP 0010-023


Rhapsody - progressive Italians Tracklisting: Lux Triumphans; Dawn of Victory; Triumph for my magic Steel; The Village of Dwarfes; Dagor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountains; The bloody Rage of the Titans; Holy Thunderforce; Trolls of the Dark; The last winged Unicorn; The mighty Ride of the Firelord.

Italian epic, symphonic and progressive metallers Rhapsody is with "Dawn of Victory" by the third stage of a jouney starting off with their two previous albums "Legendary Tales" and "Symphony of Enchanted Lands".
This time they hit a bit harder - I think they where more orchestral before - and entering the same leaque as Savatage, Heavens Gate or even Gamma Ray.
The album's featuring the very musically able line-up of guitarist Luca Turilli, keyboardist Alex Staropoli, bassist Alessandro Lotta, drummer Alex Holzwarth and vocalist Fabio Lione. Together they combine fast riffs, powerful drums, a crystal clear vocal with orchestral arrangements and epic solos - all in a fantastic universe of trolls and dwarfes. This classic rock line-up works fine with church choir, baroque singers and violins in a very solid production.
"Dawn of Victory" is produced by the dynamic duo Sascha Paeth and Miro, known from their work with Heavens Gate, Kamelot and Angra. Apperently the tour with Finnish prog-kings Stratovarius has given Rhapsody the opportunity to work with the overall sound of the guitar arrangements - without neglecting the cinematic side of the music. I especially like "The Village of Dwarfes" which recalls the atmosphere of the Middle Age and tells a story that almost made me believe that I was there, too! But also the title track is very strong and powerful centered around magnificent singer Fabio Lione, he reaches notes that I can only imagine. But don't shot down your CD player before the last track - the over 9 minutes long epic "The mighty Ride of the Firelord" with a lot of breathtaking riffs and changes of tempo and speed.
With "Dawn of Victory" Rhapsody is closely following on in the path of its two predecessors, both stylistically and thematically though I think their attitude this time is a bit heavier and more direct. But if you are into bands like Kamelot, Heavens Gate and Stratovarius, Rhapsody is a young fresh input in the melodic progressive metal scene!

Steen Peitersen 2000