MelodicRock Records [Release date 28.06.19]
Fiction Syxx follow up last year’s debut ‘Tall Dark Secret’ with ‘The Alternate Me’. Fiction Syxx is the brain child of songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Mark Allen Lanoue and he is joined again by guitarist JK Northrup (King Kobra/XYZ), drummer Rory Faciane and on keyboards Eric Ragno (Joe Lynn Turner/Graham Bonnet/The Babys). There is one new recruit since last time, namely Larry Hart (Montrose, King Kobra) taking over bass duties from Tony Franklin.
Fiction Syxx do everything to the maximum, be it the crunching guitar riffs, show stopping keyboard solos or layered back vocals, and all too good effect as the driving rocker ‘Tragic Magic’ shows. For something a little lighter, the AOR of ‘Carry The Light’ hits the spot nicely. Whereas ‘Talk Dark Secrets’ is ushered in on a wave of keys and guitars, to lead into one of the album’s more progressive moments. There is a massive chorus on this one too.
Couple of interesting covers this time around, both by classic bands, namely Styx and Uriah Heep, but the songs chosen are not ones normally covered from the bands. First up is ‘The Wizard’ by Uriah Heep, which has more emphasis on the guitar and ends up rockier than the original. The band’s take on Styx’s ‘Suite Madame Blue’ is stunning, from the acoustic and electric guitar intro, the keys and groovy bass line, through to vocals, where the band manage to recreate the distinctive harmonies that are a big part of the Styx sound. Both will hopefully open up the band’s music to new listeners.
Fiction Syxx are hard to pigeonhole, as they cover progressive rock, AOR, melodic rock and more. Their key goal is melody though and ‘The Alternate Me’ sees them building on their strong debut album. Really hope they do get and play live as they have a good selection of songs across the two albums. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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