Reviewed: September 2001
Released: 2001, Century Media
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Onward is a snappy, high-octane progressive/power metal outfit hailing from – well, I’m not exactly sure where they’re from. They’re managed out of Las Vegas, their fan club is in Wisconsin, it was recorded in Colorado and mixed in New Jersey. EVERMOVING has a few rough spots, but on the whole it’s a worthwhile experience.
This band, while staking out traditional and power metal territory, moves at a slightly faster pace than most power metal you may be used to. The fact that Onward has a little extra frenetic energy is evident on the first track, “The Kindness of Strangers.” The speedy pace keeps up for most of the album, treating us to gems like “The Waterfall Enchantress” and “Witches Winter Eternal,” both of which sport snappy, crackling riffs, particularly at their openings, that have the tendency to circle around in your head for a while. Tony Knapp is the guitarist here and clearly the driving force behind most of the songs. As a result they have a very unified groove to them, reinforcing the feeling – particularly when the album is over – that it’s a concise, well-thought-out piece of work.
Now, the nits. Yes, the consistent guitar style (and consistent virtuosity) is an asset, but also something of a liability, as these songs have just a touch of “sameness” to them particularly on the later stretches of the album. Also, the vocalist, Michael Grant (of the band Legend Maker) is competent to sing for a power metal outfit, but he’s really nothing special. He has just a hint of an annoying nasal tone – but it’s not enough to spoil anything.
EVERMOVING isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly worth hearing, if only for the excellent guitar talent. Fortunately there’s a lot more here than just that. Onward delivers pretty much what it promises. It won’t crown your power/progressive metal-CDs-of-the-year list, but it deserves a place in your collection.
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