Symphorce - Twice Second


Year of Release: 2004
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:48:00

Vocalist and songwriter Andy Franck is known for many things, both positive and negative. While the topic of many boards and music sites a couple of years ago for the questionable decisions he made in making the previous Symphorce album, Andy has emerged, like the proverbial phoenix, renewed and recharged. Twice Second is the fourth album from this German progressive metal band and, without doubt, the strongest. Most contemporary German progressive bands have used a heavy emphasis on keyboards like Dreamscape, AtmOsfear, Crises and Vanden Plas. Andy and the rest of the band pretty much kept the keyboards in their gig bags during the making of this album and severely punched up the guitar. The result is nothing less than blistering.

The first minute of the opening track "Fallen" lays the groundwork and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The quiet seascape sounds build slowly and quietly into a searing riff that burns itself into the brain and is the backbone of the song. This first song is definitive of the entire album, heavy, loud and melodic. For those who have followed the band since the first album will notice the gradual progression towards the heaviness present on this disc. Most, including myself, believed Andy's other band, Brainstorm, to be the heavier of the two and that he writes his more progressive material for Symphorce. That is no longer the case. Twice Second is as heavy as anything Andy has done and shows a growth in songwriting, aggression and purity of the metal music form. The twin guitar attack of both Cedric Dupont and Markus Pohl serves the listener a huge dose of thrashy and progressive riffage creating a heavily melodic framework for the vocals and dark, introspective lyrics.

Andy's vocal detractors have described his singing voice as being as stable as a Jello mold. They're way off on that. I find his style, timbre and range to be perfect for this material and quite sturdy. His sometimes coarse, yet soaring voice perfectly compliments the grittier and angrier demons he has inside. It took me a long time to figure out who he sounds like. The strongest comparison would have to be "What if Dave Mustaine could sing prog?" Andy uses several spoken passages on a few songs that invoke memories of the Megadeth glory days and backing them up with HUGE choruses. He definitely writes the best choruses in metal, those that can be remembered after hearing them once and crystal clear.

The production on this album is another check in the plus column. The pick-ups they used on their guitars were incredibly hot as you can almost hear the air around them crackle and hum with every strike of the strings. This monstrous wall of guitar sound also ends up being a hindrance as the songs end up sounding the same. Overuse of the same tone and level will do that to any band. Each instrument, though, is in your face and is unmistakable in its clarity.

Any progressive metal fan who tends to walk on the heavier side needs to try this. Brainstorm took many people by surprise last year with the release of Soul Temptation, and I fully expect the same reaction to Twice Second. It's just as heavy, a bit darker and full of lyrical depth and thought provoking images. This is yet another quality release from Andy Franck. There are few in the metal industry who have has as impressive a track record for putting out great music as Andy. If he continues on this course, the future looks bright indeed for Symphorce and for heavy progressive music.

Similar bands: Brainstorm, Ivanhoe

[This review originally appeared April 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]


Tracklisting:
Fallen / Tears / Whatever Hate Provides / Cause Of Laughter / In The Cold / Take What's Mine / Face Of Pain / Searching / Two Seconds To Live / Cry On My Shoulder

Musicians:
Andy B. Franck - vocals
Cedric Dupont - guitars
Markus Pohl - guitars
Dennis Wohlbold - bass
Sascha Sauer - drums

Discography:
Truth To Promises (1999)
Sinctuary (2000)
PhorcefulAhead (2002)
Twice Second (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: January 1st 2005
Reviewer: Scott Pierce
Score:
Artist website: www.symphorce.net
Hits: 706
Language: english

  

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