Balance Of Power - Ten More Tales ... Of Grand Illusion

Year of Release: 1999
Label: Nightmare Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:54:00

Balance Of Power, who are scheduled to play Progpower USA 2.0 November 2001, are a highly melodic prog metal band. They have a nice, if somewhat generic, sound. Meaning there are probably a dozen bands they could be compared to, bands who might also fall into the influenced-by category. Vanden Plas comes to mind immediately (incidentally also playing Progpower USA 2.0), but I'm not sure that's the best comparison. The dreamier aspects of mid-period Queensryche, circa Empire, as they play it smooth as in QR's "Another Rainy Night." Hints of Dream Theater can also be found in their sound. The melodies include catchy choruses, however, when Ten More Tales first opens, it sounded to me as if they were going to be a speed metal band or at least a pummeling power metal band. Powerful they are, but not brutal. They aren't frilly and soft, but they aren't unrelenting either. This is a band that has felt the influence of Symphony X as well, this especially in the guitar, as it has that neo-classical feel at times.

As I said, catchy choruses are the order of the day. "Savage Tears" begins as a very epic piece with symphonic keys, big and boomy drums, and lyrical guitar that is at once sparse but shimmery. But four minutes in, it gets a bit spacey as the vocalist, Lance King, whispers. Of course, then comes a monstrous guitar solo. This is one of those tracks that you will recall long after the disk has ended. Now, the interesting thing here is, according to the notes published on the band's website, that this track is from the point of view of "a serial killer like 'Hannibal Lecter'. He seduces his victims almost hypnotically. He wants to catch the moment between life and death from the savagery of his attack, the savagery of the victims, bitter, frightened tears to the complete, absolute, deafening savage silence of death itself. Victim after victim failed to satisfy his perverse hunger for the answer to the question 'What is it like to die?'." Very dark themes indeed.

As Pete Pardo opined in the Winter 2000 issue of Sea Of Tranquility, Balance Of Power would have been big in the late 80s, and I thought much the same thing listening to this - bands such as Ratt, Cinderella, and Bon Jovi are scribbled in my listening notes. This is much the case with "Under The Spell," though King doesn't sound specifically like either Steve Pearcy or Jon Bon Jovi. Pardo name checked TNT and Dokken among others, so all this should give you some idea of where Balance Of Power are at. Or were, as they've Perfect Balance due this fall, which, based on the bit I've heard, seems to have a punchier sound, though still we can mention Queensryche in comparison. Here, the most Queensryche like track - or, at least, the one that most made me think of them, is "Blind Man."

Balance of Power's sound is designed for arenas (and not to sound too much like a commercial, PPUSA 2.0 will be a perfect venue to test that hypothesis). The open arrangements designed to let the chugging guitars and bass reverb back to the furthest seats. You can almost see them on stage with "About To Burn," throwing all the right metal shapes. It is not, by the way, a track about a pyromaniac, but rather an optimistic tune (or so the band says): "This song is about facing new challenges and opportunities. It's a positive way of looking at progress and the fear of the unknown [...]." Guitarist Pete Southern plays some very speedy runs throughout, his lines more interesting here than on United States Of Mind's debut Silver Step Child (ex-vocalist, but current lyricist and bassist Tony Ritchie's project that also features BOP drummer Lionel Hicks). But here Southern's playing with a different goal, giving the proceedings that classical influence. "The Darker Side" is in balladic form, being a voice and piano piece, but far from being a paean to love, it is more the melancholy of despair. Actually, I kept thinking of Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home," though this only bears a small similarity. If you were to only hear this track, you wouldn't figure Balance Of Power (other than by the name) to be a metal outfit. Despite the gloomy topic, it is a beautiful track. It also serves to heighten the power of the final and title track.

It's a solid release and is something that will be very attractive to the progressive power metal fans.

Tale 1. Daybreaker / Tale 2. Prisoner Of Pride / Tale 3. Savage Tears / Tale 4. Under the Spell / Tale 5. Blind Man / Tale 6. About To Burn / Tale 7. Under Innocence Wing / Tale 8. Sins Of The World / Tale 9. The Darker Side / Tale 10. Ten More Tales Of Grand Illusion

Lance King - lead vocals
Pete Southern - guitars, vocals
Bill Yates - guitars
Tony Ritchie - bass, vocals
Lionel Hicks - drums

When The World Falls Down (1997)
Book Of Secrets (1998)
Ten More Tales ... Of Grand Illusion (1999)
Perfect Balance (2001)
Heathen Machine (2003)
Heathenology (boxed set) (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin UK

Added: July 26th 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1028
Language: english


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