Released: 2015, AFM Records
A little over a year ago, 21Octayne announced its arrival with the melodic and well-constructed INTO THE OPEN. Now a power trio, with bassist Andrew Lauer departing this year, vocalist Hagen Grohe (The Joe Perry Project), guitarist Marco Wriedt (ex-Axxis) and drummer Alex Landenburg (Rhapsody) have released another quality album that blends melodic metal and AOR quite seamlessly with elements of classic rock. Appropriately referring to the band’s modern interpretation of melodic metal, 2.0 is capably produced by Grohe, who also designed the album’s artwork. Just like the debut, 2.0 features no keyboards, which definitely helps to separate the band from many of their peers.
2.0 is a pleasant album, with quality arrangements and a mix of styles that range from funk in “The Circle”, to progressive rock in album closer “Tale Of A Broken Child.” Grohe’s vocals mesh with the band’s music and there are several catchy choruses and melodies interspersed throughout the album. Balancing the melodic and sweet sounds are a few more snarling moments, such as the aggressive album opener “Devil In Disguise” with Landenburg’s percussions driving things behind a sticky riff. Similarly, “Fly With Me” is carried by a series of powerful riffs and a thumping pulse. Easily the most accessible track is the excellent “When You Go”, which the band spent a week on filming the video for the song. Still, no one would confuse 21Octayne with the word “heavy”, which is unquestionably by design.
Being veterans, 21Octayne understands the importance of capitalizing on momentum, and the quick but quality follow-up to the debut is a reflection of that mentality. All is not perfect of course. The lyrics and song titles quickly reveal that. The production is clean, but it robs the guitars of a truly fierce and slicing sound. Biggest challenge for the band though is that there are numerous places where you can get your fix for this style of music, like current Pretty Maids, House Of Lords, or Jorn Lande to name a few. 21Octayne is pretty late to this party, but that does not stop them from trying to elbow their way through the crowd. If you crave more bands in this style, then 2.0 will be a welcome discovery.