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Balance of Power
Book Of Power AND Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion
Released: 2000, Nightmare Records
"Book Of Power" Released: 1998 in Europe & Japan, 2000 in North America
"Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion" Released Jan. 2000
Since I received both of this band's CD's at the same time and that both are being released here on North America in January 2000 I figure it would be best to review both CD's at the same time. This band is clearly a melodic heavy metal band. The production and quality on both CD's is top notch making me wonder why I haven't heard of this band until now. The band saw it's beginnings in Brighton, England. After a number of line-up changes the line-up solidified. Their vocalist is however from and lives in the USA, which would make me think that jamming and touring must be quite a problem! The band first released "When The World Falls Down" in 1996 followed by "The Book of Power" and "Ten More Tales..."
Elements of Queensryche, Dream Theater and Crimson Glory can be found throughout the music on both CD's. The singer, Lance King, has very good range! The lead guitar playing is fantastic and seems to have improved on the latter CD ("Ten More Tales..."). The keyboards, although prominently featured, fit in excellently with the music and are very well arranged. Looking at each CD individually, "Book of Secrets" is a theme/concept album based on the book "The Bible Code" by Michael Drosnin. My favorite tracks on this CD include "Walking On Top of the World" and "Book of Secrets." Several spoken word passages between songs to me give it the feel of Blind Guardian's "Nightfall In Middle Earth", especially since it's spoken in a deep voice with a British accent. Musically though, this has less in common with Blind Guardian. There are not many up tempo tunes like "Book of Secrets." Most are melodic heavy metal and not the intense, epic, galloping power metal. There is only one track on the CD that shouldn't of made the cut and that is the track "It's Not Over (Until It's Over)" - sounding like a weak 80's glam metal tune. Onto their newer CD... "Ten More Tales of Grand Illusion" which has a slightly different feel to it. In a way it comes off as bigger sounding with memorable choruses and more technical guitar playing. At least that's what I get out of it. Overall I think I slightly prefer "Book of Power" but the lead playing on this CD really stands out. The CD's highlights include "Day Breaker", "Prisoner of Pride" (great solo in this one...love the backing orchestrational rhythm). Then there's my favorite track on this CD "Sins of the World." I love the way this cuts in with the double kicks and the guitar and keys following one another - reminiscent of Yngwie. It's more upbeat than most of their other tracks and the solo in this one is amazing! Weak moments include "Under The Spell" and "Blind Man" (way too commercial, great solo though). Again I have a problem with the ballad "The Darker Side" ....this is a sleeper zzzzz....
These guys need no improvements in their song-writing or musicianship. They could do with a little more aggression and speed though and the ballads I could do without. Balance of Power are definitely a band to check into for fans of melodic metal and I'm sure we'll be hearing more about them in the coming months thanks to the simultaneous release of these two CD's in North America.
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