Balistic - The Journey Within

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Independent
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:38:00

Sometime at the beginning of the nineties, something went terribly wrong and heavy metal found itself cornered by a media that had suddenly decided to make a quick buck by exploiting a new inrush of music and ravaging its previous musical focus, as well as by a new generation of musicians among which a great many took pleasure in throwing everything of a metallic nature into the same category and tearing it to pieces, whether it was Warrant, Megadeth, or Dream Theater. And if it hadn't been for the loyalty of both fans and musicians to a genre of music that seems to be in everyone's blacklist whenever it isn't fashionable, metal would have been hung, drawn, and quartered by now. But strength, as they say, comes in numbers, and acts such as Balistic constitute the brave lines of soldiers that herald anthem-like distorted riffs, guitar solos that consist of more than a single note, and the iron will of metal.

Balistic, as has been the new custom of some bands out there, seems to have picked up exactly where metal left off in the very beginning of the nineties, when acts such as Sanctuary were coming up with great American power metal (do not confuse with its melodic European counterpart). The music contained in The Journey Within is not as heavy though, but rather hovers in a mid-tempo heaviness that sees itself stuck in the middle of the heaviest glam metal (Twisted Sister) and the lighter side of power metal (perhaps a hint of very early Manowar), while adding a series of eighties progressive touches to the mix that give this Philadelphia band a sound that is unquestionably its own, but which at the same time will doubtlessly draw several references from listeners everywhere. Whether these are actual influences or not, one is able to pick up hints of Trouble, early Fates Warning, Queensrÿche, and other such acts as the record progresses. Hell, the verse riff of "Through The Gates" is a riff from Iron Maiden's "Rime Of The Ancient Mariner!"

Overall, however, one is never left with the feeling that this brave group is ripping off anyone, but rather that it seems to have been in a state of suspended animation during most of the eighties, brought to life a few years ago, and been quickly adapting its meshing of eighties metal to newer times. There is a general feeling of fun heavy attitude that recalls some truly shining moments of what some call old-school metal, with "Psychic Man" having a slightly demented chorus that just sounds hella cool and "Don't Let Me Die" moving ahead in its anthem character with a heavy metal tale of a motorcycle ride gone bad. Not only that, but the band does actually manage to throw in a few surprising tricks here and there for good measure, so that the listener doesn't quite have Balistic down after only listening to a couple of songs.

As with most independent releases, however, the album's production does detract from the general effect, as Dave Fox's mid-range vocals are usually mixed in too high and leave the band's instruments shadowed in the background. Before you read too much into this, however, the sound of the album is clear and allows each track to be brought forward in full character, so don't get the idea of hissing speakers and annoying snare drums all over the place invade the paranoiac corners of your mind. The basic truth of the matter is that anyone with a penchant for what is widely known as eighties metal, adorned with progressive influences and executed more than just decently, will find something to appease one's metal soul in The Journey Within.

Similar artists: Armored Saint, early Savatage, Sanctuary, late Black Sabbath

Leave Me Alone (3:10) / Land Of The Living (3:32) / The Darkness (4:17) / Sacrificed (3:17) / Psychic Man (3:50) / Into The Grey (3:23) / Lean On Me (3:34) / Rain (3:33) / Don't Let Me Die (3:12) / Through The Gates (4:20) / Gently (4:30) / Long Goodbye (2:45)

Dave Fox - vocals, bass
Brian Kneasel - lead guitar
Mike Bordner - rhythm guitar
John Lohman - drums

Balistic (1998)
The Journey Within (2001)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: July 30th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website:
Hits: 852
Language: english


[ Back to Reviews Index | Post Comment ]