Silent Force - Infatuator

Year of Release: 2001
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: MASS 299
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:39:00

So this has been sitting in the to review pile for quite a while, since returning from ProgPower USA 2.0 when Bob Snyder handed a copy to me to review.* Having liked DC Cooper since hearing him in his days with Royal Hunt and on his, to date, only solo release, I was appreciative of receiving this CD. Of course, there were many titles ahead of this on the docket, and admittedly, there still are a few. But, with Silent Force's upcoming performance at ProgPower USA III, I've bumped this release up the schedule a bit.

Boring preamble over, what do I think of Infatuator? Well, I'm not wowed by it, I'm afraid. There's too much about it that seems predictable. While the intent is fast, powerful runs, I can't help but think that things go by too fast at times, that if things had been a degree or two slower, they could have fully utilized each moment. I found the first, title track, too high pitched for my tastes, too grating, though the music is alright. Things improve on that point with the second track, "Fall Into Oblivion," the Cooper voice we're accustomed to coming through loud and clear. "Promised Land" is one of the highlights - especially the guitar accents employed by Alexander Byrodt during the operatic bridge. The lyrical sentiment is rather cliched, but then many a song dealing with romantic notions seems that way. The lyrics themselves are structurally awkward; I'd say it is a byproduct of non-native speakers writing in a language, English, that doesn't come as naturally to them as their own, especially as English is so darn imprecise and inconsistent, especially as we've so many idioms that mean something other than what they seem to. I'm not going to belabour the point, because they aren't awful lyrics, just, as I said, a bit awkward. Though Cooper's voice seems buried amongst the instrumentation, he does sing them in a beautifully flowing manner that, when heard rather than read, flow together well. Meaning becomes clear with their verbalization.

Another highlight is "World Aflame." It's not that it is any more original sounding that anything else on the album; in fact, it has a lot of that late 80s metal feel to it, given a modern coating. But, it does have a consistent and comfortable pace. Byrodt engages in some interesting guitar pyrotechnics, that have some measure of feeling to them. Though, given the warmth of Cooper's voice, one would hope the instrumentation would have as much. "In Your Arms" is the ballad. I thought a bit of Boston's "Amanda," though without that quintessential Boston sound. Cooper's reading is heartfelt, added warmth given by the wonderful backing vocals of Inka Auershagen. Yeh, it's a ballad, but it works.

The track that is getting a lot of attention is "Hear Me Calling," which Cooper wrote about his brother. It begins with a nice, punchy drum tattoo, quietly searing guitar from Byrodt, before the rest of the band come in to fill the space. All this falls off to put Cooper's vocals into the limelight. Interestingly, Cooper goes from sound like Tate, to himself, to Halford, back to himself as he moves through the song. You'd think more than one vocalist was singing -- of course, technically there is more than one voice, as there are backing vocals. Speaking of Queensryche, there are a few hints of that band at the beginning of "Last Time," which a bit later, also hints at Dream Theater, Cooper sounding vaquely like LaBrie. One of the better paced tracks on the album.

There are two instrumentals here, beginning with "Cena Libera" which kicks of the "Trilogy" trilogy in a dramatic and cinematic way. It is the sound of many an orchestral soundtrack. Perhaps my favourite piece on the album, and it's lasts for only a short period of time. The second instrumental is "Northern Lights." Here it is Byrodt on acoustic guitar and Torsten Röhre on keys -- the strings of Byrodt's acoustic guitar sound a bit loose, which results in a fat (and not always appealing) sound, though overall I like the track. Byrodt is no slouch as a guitarist, though he does seem to be a bit out of time with Röhre on the interlude during "The Blade" (the third part of "Trilogy"). But, there is the feeling of speedy runs for the sake of speedy runs... I realize that's part and parcel with this type of music, I've listened to a lot of it... but during the showcase solo of this track, the effect is merely a demonstration that he can run up and down the fretboard at blazing speed. I don't hear much emotion in the playing - too technical maybe.

The second part of the trilogy is "Gladiator" -- if you've seen the Russell Crowe film, then you know exactly what this song is about. Whether it's mere coincidence or not, I don't know... Silent Force ratched back a notch here, making this track one of the few that work for me. Sure it's epic metal with rapid fire drumming, screaming guitars, throbbing bass, but Cooper's vocals are placed in just the right place, slightly up in the mix, creating the right dynamic.

So, overall, I guess it comes down on the plus side. It's mostly satisfying, but not totally. One doesn't feel cheated though, as the performances are good and solid. I mean, too fast as they can get, they do it well.

The bonus video clip features "See Beyond" from their debut album. It is a mix of performance, backstage, and travel footage that shows the band at work and at play -- or at play and at work...

Released in North America by the now defunct InsideOut Music America (IOMACD 2028); reissued in 2007 by AFM/Armageddon (AFM 133)

Infatuator (4:46) / Fall Into Oblivion (5:17) / Hear Me Calling (5:28) / Promised Land (5:03) / We Must Use The Power (6:09) / All Guns Blazing (3:26) / Trilogy: Cena Libera (0:26) / Gladiator (4:36) / The Blade (6:24) / Last Time (4:48) / World Aflame (5:25) / In Your Arms (6:03) / Northern Lights (1:48) / Bonus Mpeg Video: See Beyond

DC Cooper - vocals
Alexander Beyrodt - guitar
Jurgen Steinmetz - bass
Torsten Röhre - keyboards
André Hilgers - drums


Inka Auhagen - vocals (12)

The Empire Of Future (2000)
Infatuator (2001)
Worlds Apart (2004)
Walk The Earth (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: July 16th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 476
Language: english


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