AFM Records [Release date 14.10.16]
Based in Scotland, Germany, Finland and Serbia, this is the band’s fifth studio album for long time label AFM Records and with two new additions – keyboardist Christian Pulkinnen and drummer John Clelland – the 2016 line up really does make this album special!
Nikola Mijic’s vocals are superb throughout – strong, powerful and emotive whilst ex-drummer Pete Newdeck contributes to the ever-present Curse Choir and the songwriting.
Amongst the highlights the first lead single ‘Sell Your Soul’ is characterised by strong keyboards and guitar riffage and this is a feature throughout the album, and as evidenced on ‘The Great Pretender’ ‘Messiah Complex’, ‘Utopian Dreams’ and album closer ‘Jericho’.
When they slow it down the band are equally convincing as on the ballad ‘Find My Way’ and the duet with one-time Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine, ‘Unconditional’.
With proggy references to Dream Theater, power-metaltastic shades of Sonata Arctica or even Stratovarius, the album should please their fanbase. It’s evidently a labour of love for the band and has been polished to perfection with production again in the hands of Dennis Ward.
Epic from start to finish! *****
Review by Matt Willis
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