Released: 2014, AFM Records
Frankfurt Germany’s 21 Octayne is a new “super” band not far removed from similar bands like Fullforce. Composed of Hagen Grohe (The Joe Perry Project), Marco Wriedt (Axxis), Andrew “The Bullet” Lauer (PAUL GILBERT) and Alex Landenburg (Rhapsody), INTO THE OPEN is the band’s introduction to the world. With the might of AFM behind them, INTO THE OPEN features professionally constructed compositions booming with modern production values that incorporate elements of all the member’s former bands and influences. While the music is not as fresh or free from clichés as the bands’s bio would have us believe, INTO THE OPEN is a solid debut with more than a few memorable moments.
Unquestionably, INTO THE OPEN is an album that features a wide range of styles that reveal the impressive musicianship of its members. Listeners get doses of progressive, hard rock, AOR, and elements of metal throughout without fully committing to any particular style. Fans of crushing and brutal metal will likely stay away in droves, but appreciators of melodic metal that lean more towards Tyketto than Testament should find plenty to interest them. Lead off, “She’s Killing Me” features a note heavy verse riff while leaning more toward modern alt.rock/metal. “Dear Friend” covers many of the band’s styles, starting almost alternative then moving into a heavy middle section and ripping guitar solo. Favorites would be the album closer “Come Alive” with its combination of modern melodic metal with vintage AOR and “The Heart (Save Me)” again with a winning mix of classic AOR and metal/rock.
Impressively, the album sustains its momentum over the course of twelve tracks, and while the jazzy bass slap intro to “Don’t Turn Away” is cringe-worthy, the rest of the song helps make up for that misstep. Vocally, Hagen Grohe has the type of journeyman style that works with this brand of music, competent but unremarkable. Approximating the band’s style, what we have is a cross between Alter Bridge, Tyketto and Tesla with lots of nods to the 80s in the big choruses and technical musicianship, while coloring the album with shades of darker and brighter tunes. Minor gripe would be that this has all been done before, despite the superb musical performances of the band and a leaning that is at times far more modern alt.rock than metal. Still, lots of great tunes on here are rounded out by minimal filler. Recommended for fans of Tyketto and Alter Bridge.