Sinphonia - When The Tide Breaks

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Lucretia Records International
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:00:00

In the world of progressive metal, there are a variety of reasons that discs succeed, get recognition, or go by the wayside. The reasons are mostly based on taste and preference, usually what the word "progressive" means to the listener, or what the individual requirements are for those tastes in progressive metal. With Sinphonia, I believe you will get everything that meets those requirements and standards, at least to a varying degree.

I believe Sinphonia is one of those bands that tend to stand alone in a genre that stands alone from the rest of the world, instantly making the band stick out like a sore thumb. First and foremost, the band has a female lead singer, which obviously can start to dictate whether or not a disc will appeal to masses. Speaking as one who was reluctant to allow female singers into my beloved genre, and who has now changed his outlook as to what makes progressive metal special to me, I can honestly say that this band definitely strives to make originality part of their chemical makeup.

I normally like to make references to other bands in a review to give the reader an idea of where the sound and influence of a band lies, but in Sinphonia, I'm happy to say that I can't readily pick out bands that sound similar. This is definitely a progressive metal disc in every sense of the word, except that the band doesn't overdo any part of their natural makeup to saturate the listener. Each part of the band and sound is chemically balanced to please most progressive listeners. With its complexity, melodic warmth, smooth but different production, and singer who has a style of her own, the band plows through 42:00 of CD with crunchy guitars, backing keyboards, and songs that certainly don't flow very easily from song to song. Yet, the band manages to pull off a lot of dramatic pyrotechnics that prog metal listeners love to hear.

Standouts are truly the guitars and drumming, meaning that it is this sound that instantly hits your ears, with its strange "electronic" guitar sound that I've likened to the Carisma sound of old. The drumming is a standout in the mix, as well as in performance, and the guitars add certain dramatics to the sound, as if in sudden urgency to bring out every note of the music to the listener. This is a well balanced band - with no showboating, no overemphasis on playing, just a good chemical makeup that has each and every instrument complementing each other in a way that is super pleasing to the ear.

The sound can be considered heavy, due to the crunching guitar sound ? and the heavy production placed on the drums. The production is somewhat different than most prog metal disc I've heard, and I place this in the "different" category, again like I have always put Carisma's 1825 disc. The drums are a standout in the mix, but not so much as to distract the listener from the rest of the music. The guitars and bass are placed nicely in the mix as well. The vocals are right at the forefront of the sound ? although Monika's style or accent prevents the listener from hearing each word distinctively, but after a few readings of the booklet, the listener will be easily singing along in no time. Speaking of which, the lyrics are very well written, aiming towards the surreal, dreamy aspect of the mind and abstract thoughts.

Monika Pederson is on a par with the best of the female singers of the genre, mixing what I call the "enchantress" part of female singers with a dramatic, serious tone to her voice. She doesn't stray too much out of her range, opting to remain in an almost monotone style. Definitely different. I believe there is some sort of processing placed on her voice as well, giving it an overall dreamy, surreal sound to match the mood of the lyrics and music.

So far I haven't made any references to any bands that I could compare this sound to [other than Carisma, in a general way - ed.], but when I first heard the band, I likened them to a speedier version of old style Conception. I can certainly make some references to the guitar playing of Tore Ostby in relation to Henrik Rangstrup, thus maybe the Conception reference. In general, the band certainly has their own place in the progressive metal hall of sound, using the obligatory double bass as basis for the drumming, but only to the extent of necessity rather than over saturation. The guitars and keyboards (especially on the instrumental track "Odyssey") show the super balanced chemistry of this band.

So, in closing, if I had to make a summary reference to a style that you could put your ear on, I'd say this is a speedy, dramatic version of old Conception with a female singer at the helm. If this whets your appetite, then this band will be right up your alley. The interesting aspect of the disc is that I can't tell you exactly what draws me back to the disc time and time again, but maybe the fact that it is a true progressive metal disc in every sense of the word, regardless of what your definition of the word is, this band will have something for every avid prog metal fan. The last track on the disc, "Now and Forever", certainly sums up what this band is all about -- dramatics, excellent song writing, smooth vocals, and even some head banging moments, all thrown into a well-balanced pot of progressive excellence.

If you like your progressive metal music somewhat complex, super dramatic, melodic and thought provoking, superb songwriting throughout, Sinphonia comes highly recommended.

Medusa / Lost / Moonstruck / Blear The Hideous / Beyond The Clouds / Path Of Life / Odyssey / Now And Forever

Monika Pederson - vocals
Dennis Buhl - drums
Thor Jeppeson - bass
Henrik Rangstrup - guitars
Peter Jensen - keyboards

When The Tide Breaks (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DK

Added: October 13th 2001
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website:
Hits: 761
Language: english


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