Defyance - Transitional Forms

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Nightmare Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:47:00

Transitional Forms is the fourth album by this quintet, their follow up to 1999's Time Lost album. In the intervening years, the band's line up has changed, with Lance King (ex-Balance Of Power) now on vocals and Aaron Bell (Degree Absolute) on bass joining original members Doug Beary on drums, and Marcus Peterson and Brent Scott on guitars.

Overall, it is an average release. King, whose voice I like, sings with a high, soaring "metal" voice (fairly standard for this genre) that is also flexible, such that he sounds only passingly like a number of other vocalists - Dream Theater's James LaBrie and Queensryche's Geoff Tate among them (though on "Silent Tears" it is of, for a second, Perry Farrell that I think of). Pretty much gone from their sound is any resemblance to Iron Maiden, though hints remain in some of the guitar sounds coming from Peterson and Scott. The band does seem tighter this time out, as Peterson, Scott, Bell and Beary hammering away in lockstep. You'll hear sweet toned guitar leads, thuddering drums (much use, but not over use, of the double bass effect), tinkling keyboards, etc.

From a production point of view, it does sound good and is slickly produced, but seems just a little bit cold to me, aside from King's vocals. I find Bell's bass tone a little hollow sounding, a sound that is common in many of these releases. But as I favour the warmer bass tones of, say, Tony Levin, Michael Manring, etc., this is just me. Although there are keyboards in use, they are a subtle element of the mix, used sparingly. When the do come to the fore, the have that same odd placement that I hear on a number of releases? but in "A Force To Face My Fears," leading up to the fade out, the emerge more with a warm, piano-like sound backing acoustic guitars. "Silent Tears" gets off to a good start, but gets muddy in the middle with an awkward guitar solo trying for, I believe, a middle-eastern motif. The solo keyboard as piano section that follows almost works for a second, but then becomes like something played on a low-end keyboard.

The energy is there, as evident on the opening salvos on many of the tracks and in "A Notion" in particular. Contrary to the bombastic openings is "Fire Of Ancients" where instead acoustic guitars and keyboard atmospherics introduce the piece, leading into slices of electric guitar and bashing drums. King's voice deepens here (a la Tate), which gives it a bit more warmth. But Bell's bass, which is prominent in the mix, just becomes an annoying element. Otherwise, I rather like this piece, especially the vocal melody of the chorus. The Dream Theater element is the strongest in "A Force To Face My Fears," the Queensryche element in "Just Beyond Might Sight," the latter an opportunity for Beary to do something a little different in the percussion department other than the typical bash, bash, bash-bash, bash-bash, bash. It is probably the track that works best overall and Bell's bass sometimes has a little more substance to it. It is a slower paced piece, though it isn't mellow.

The two best pieces came right at the end (though at least one is plagued a bit by the hollow bass sound). The first, the acoustic guitar/piano/vocal piece "Never Fade Away, which reminded me of two different Metallica pieces - "Fade To Black" (title aside) and "Nothing Else Matters." It's is the mellow piece of the album, almost dreary. It, too, has a Queensryche feel to it. Despite the dreariness, it happens to be my favourite track of the album. It works and is warm, especially with King's deeper Tate like tones. The second of these two is the Celtic-esque piece "Tied To A Wheel," which is also a dark piece, heavier than the rest of the album, where King's voice is a little rough in spots - which is a positive element here. It's a beefier track in terms of tone and sound, and all the better for it, giving a little more heft than the smoother sounding tracks that precede it.

Connection (5:19) / Passing Of The Night (4:55) / A Force To Face My Fears (6:47) / Silent Tears (6:34) / A Notion (5:16) / Fire Of Ancients (5:27) / Just Beyond My Sight (5:20) / Never Fade Away (4:06) / Tied To A Wheel (9:00)

Doug Beary - drums, percussion
Aaron Bell - bass
Lance King - vocals
Marcus Peterson - guitars
Brent A Scott - guitars


Matt Bell - keyboards

Voices Within
Amaranthine (1996)
Time Lost (1999)
Transitional Forms (2002)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin US

Added: June 1st 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 875
Language: english


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