Released: 2005, Trance Music
BALANCE OF HATE is the second full length release from the German heavy power metal band Boomerang. The band released their debut, WEAVEWORLD, in 2002 via Trance Music with BALANCE OF HATE coming this year from the aforementioned label.
I’ve never heard the band’s debut album and up until this past month I’d never even heard of Boomerang. With BALANCE OF HATE Boomerang take an already rather tried and true style of heavy power metal (think Brainstorm or some of the American power metal bands) and added a couple novel additions. One of the main ones, which is something their label is quick to point out in their bio, is that the band utilize two lead vocalists, that being Axel Johann just on vocal duty and Thomas Fahrnbach who sings and plays guitar. The one thing that’s a bit different about this is that the band doesn’t necessarily use two vocalists for the reason that either has a limited range and because of this we don’t see a lot of vocal trade offs but a lot of singing at once. It’s even further interesting because, unlike many bands that implement multiple vocal tracks, it’s not layer upon layer of vocals but just two simple voices working together. In some areas of the band’s music this can be a major asset (“Undiscovered Country”, “Betwixt the Temples”) but it can become a tad unsettling as there are times where the two voices don’t mesh together very well (parts of “Silence Cries” and “Suffocated Cries” ). The vocals tend to move from clean singing to a raspy almost Jon Oliva/Charles Rytkonen delivery.
Production wise the album is pretty clean, no muddiness, and all the instruments are quite audible. Though there are a couple issues I have. The first is the guitar sound, I think that the current sound is a bit too thin for the style the band plays. A thicker, crunchier sound would be a lot more beneficial. The other issue is the bass drums, I think the bass drum sound is far too overpowering. This problem isn’t as evident until Andreas Reichard hits some double bass sections. Though, the bass drums wouldn’t be much of an issue if the guitars were thicker as the drums wouldn’t cut through the guitars as much. These are minor production gripes though as the songs are still great regardless and it’s definitely not a distraction, just something I happened to notice more on repeated listens.
Opening the album with “Amplify”, which starts off simple but the way the drum pattern changes while the guitar sees only minor modification creates a nice sense of movement. The bouncing/choppy verse riff creates a nice accompaniment for the lone aggressive vocal. A nice thing that’s implemented in this song is that the changeover from verse to pre-chorus to chorus comes quickly, not lingering too long on any specific section. “Suffocated Cries” starts with a softer, almost melancholic, styled melody using strong double bass to keep the song moving forward. The aggressive, raspy sung verse is used nicely in-between the opening melody. The double voiced chorus is okay, but the voices tend to sound a bit off and waiver just a tad too much, though I really like how the two voices trail off before the solo section, one going high and one going low.
Two vocals open up “Undiscovered Country”, giving the a capella version of the song’s chorus. “Undiscovered Country” is a mid-paced cruncher with the vocal waivering between clean and raspy within seconds and many times without warning. For some this might be a bit of a distraction but I think within the confines of this song it works quite well. The solo section of the song works really well with it’s very groove inspired sound and big pauses (which are also echoed in the song’s chorus, which utilizes a full pause to great effect) for the lead guitar to sweep and climb overtop. The soft opening of “Betwixt the Temples” with its nice, soft, non-confrontational lead guitar immediately creates a nice vibe. The dual vocal used to help with a build up do an amazingly good job, even though it’s basically two lines repeated over and over till the song kicks into a heavier, epic mood. The marching section at 2:36 (which reappears again later) is the highlight for me, with it’s nice use of both guitars, both playing slightly different parts, one following the drums while the other follows a straight chugging pattern.
BALANCE OF HATE is quite a strong album from a fairly unknown German metal band. There are many strengths in the band’s sound, with a strong knack for good songs and catchy melodies/riffs. Sometimes though, the band doesn’t hit the mark, such as with the last two songs on the album, “Mind Odyssey” and “Praise the Loud” which come off as filler. There are also a few sections in some songs that seem a bit awkward but overall BALANCE OF HATE is a winner from a band that is assuredly still growing and learning their craft.