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Never Be Tamed
Released: 2011, Nightmare Records
Between my review of CypherSeer, FireForce, and now Conflicted, this seems to be the month of debut albums for me. Yea and verily, NEVER BE TAMED is the full-length introduction to Toronto’s Conflicted, a band that has been slowly picking up steam over the past three years. The main drawing points to the band thus far seem to have the insane guitar prowess of Mark Owen and the ridiculously powerful range of vocalist Jason Orton. However, talent alone does not make a band, so let’s see what’s uncovered upon a deeper listen to the album.
Once the pointless intro is over and the title track kicks in, it’s hard not to be completely overwhelmed by Orton’s singing. His already strong clarion call is pushed to the forefront of the production, ensuring you cannot miss his performance. It’s a good thing then that he is more than up to the task. If it sounds like you’ve heard his voice before, it’s probably because the guy is a dead wringer for Ripper Owens. If this were the ‘90s all over again, it’s possible that we could have had a Canadian fronting the mighty Priest. However, if the music on this disc is anything to go by, he’d probably have preferred taking over the lead vocals in Symphony X, because the music here is heavily influenced by the prog-metal icons. This is a credit to Conflicted, as I can’t think of too many other bands that attempt to drink from that same trough of metal. As you’d expect from such a lofty comparison, the band’s musicianship is top notch.
On the other hand, the song writing is not even close to par with the mighty ‘X. Most of the songs are strong – typically they are bunched early on in the album. There are some songs though, like the execrable “Heat Me Up” that really drag down the album.
To be fair, Conflicted is a band still finding its way. They have all the right parts in place to be leaders of the scene but are not quite there yet. While I look forward to hearing their future work, it’s still work checking out this debut album.
1) After Too Long
2) Never Be Tamed
5) The Hand of God
7) Heat Me Up
8) I Wish. I Remember.
Jason Orton: Vocals
Mark Owen: Guitar
Ron De Coste: Keyboards
John Kolodziej: Bass
Corey Stoll: Drums
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