Tears Of Anger - Still Alive

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Lion Music
Catalog Number: LMC 99
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:24:00

In the Progressive Metal world, the anticipation of new releases by the dominant bands in the genre is one of the big enjoyments that fans of this style look forward to. During the wait, some fans are content to sit around and enjoy their favorite bands, some veer off into other genres to occupy their time and enjoyment, while other actively hunt down obscure and unknown bands in the hopes of finding that undiscovered "gem" laying in wait out there somewhere in the depths of the unknown.

Such is the case with Tears of Anger. Amidst the ever-changing population of bands and discs being released, Tears of Anger emerged from nowhere and delivered quite the punch of heavy / melodic metal to the unknowing masses. Behind the Swedish powerhouse duo of brothers Benny Jansson (guitars) and Björn Jansson (vocals), the music at first appears to be a nice hybrid of 80's melodic metal (ala heavier version of Extreme), modern metal style, and a huge dose of guitar crunch. In addition, layers upon layers of vocal melodies and song melodies capture the listener easily and one has to try to decide which part of this band do I like best. The obvious melodic warmth, the heavy / crunching powerhouse of guitars, or the awesome Graham Bonnet / Jorn Lande-like vocals of Bjorn Jannson? If you put that all together, you come up with one serious disc.

The music itself is song-oriented with no wankery or over showing off to be found here. Just good, old-fashioned songs backed with plenty of punch in all depts. Shades of the 80's band Extreme still pop into the senses from time to time, more so due to the guitar pyrotechnics of Benny Jansson which do sound an awful lot like the style of guitar great Nuno Bettencourt. He has that bluesy, melodic yet forceful style that you can't run from or hide from. Heavy, arena / stadium-style choruses, layered vocal harmonies, rousing bluesy metal evoke that Extreme memory in me every time, although Tears of Anger is much heavier in sheer power alone.

Singer Björn Jannson easily caught my ear with his raspy, bluesy, raw deliverance that brings such great singers to mind as Graham Bonnet, Jorn Lande and Oliver Hartmann. That puts him in great company and shows what talent he has and the performance he lets loose. Guitarist Benny Jannson, as already mentioned is the focal point of the music; delivering that most welcomed crunch laced with bluesy leads that come and go throughout the disc. Johan Niemann lays down a bottom-heavy bass line that will certainly tax the weak subwoofers of the world. Daniel Flores, who shows up just about on every progressive metal disc released these days (Mind's Eye, Hubi Meisel, Secret Sphere, and more) shows why he is one of the most sought after drummers on the European scene at the moment. Of course, having a progressive drummer in the lineup the caliber of a Daniel Flores means that the progressive music listener is sure to have his/her progressive palate laced with tender morsels and bite-sized chunks of progressive moments, and they do not disappoint in the least.

The disc was self-produced apparently, and although this is quite the superb sounding disc most of the time, it is here that I have minor complaints. Two areas of minor flaws come to mind and ears instantly. First, the opening track called "The Awakening" is louder than the rest of the songs on the disc. Turn your volume before you begin to play this disc lest you don't mind your speakers complaining with a loud boom or thud right from the start, enough to make your favorite pet flee in fear. Those of us who value sound will immediately come to life with joy of great production, yet after the first song, the recording sound suddenly lessens to the point of having to get up and turn up the volume to enjoy the rest of what's to come. Indeed, I have tested this and played this time and time again to fully realize that what I'm hearing is true. As a matter of fact, the opening "thud" of "The Awakening" certainly will do what the song says. My subwoofer grimaced with agony and pain and reverberated in protest, which leads me to my second complaint. The bass is a bit overproduced which at times produced an unnatural echo in the bottom end. Those with subwoofers will recognize this easily and attempt to turn down the bass to compensate, but alas you don't want to lessen the punch of this disc, and you tolerate it even you don't agree with it. I would have preferred a tighter bottom end that eliminates that echo, but I'm not spinning the knobs. Overall, the rest is produced well and packs a wallop, especially in the vocal dept.

Overall, Tears of Anger have released a gem of a melodic metal disc and I am waiting eagerly for their next release. I have caught wind that the upcoming sound may be a bit more "modern" in the style, but if they keep it as heavy as they have on this release, I don't think that many will mind, and it can only help the band become more exposed to the masses.

The Awakening / Still Alive / Afraid Of The Dark / Sword Of Sorrow / Nightmare / Moment Of Truth / Revenge Will Come / Watch Me Run / Walk Away / Kings Call / Who I Am

Benny Jansson - Guitar
Bj?rn Jansson - Vocals
Daniel Flores - Drums
Johan Niemann -Bass

Still Alive (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.tearsofanger.com
Hits: 844
Language: english


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