Released: 2014, IceWarrior
Somehow, I missed the debut album by Flashback of Anger back in 2009. SPLINTERS OF LIFE came out on the Limb Records label, so I’m shocked. An Italian Progressive Power Metal band on my all-time favourite record labels and I missed it? Normally, I’d be all over that like a fat kid on an ice-cream cake. This time I was not going to miss the band but I must admit, I think I know why the band got passed over. The band name is dumb. Maybe it is a translation issue but it doesn’t make sense and is not a good name for a Metal band. However, we mustn’t judge a band on their name so I’m glad I listened to the new album.
T.S.R. (stands for Terminate And Stay Resident, which doesn’t make much sense either) has be released on the smaller but very cool IceWarrior Record label. There have been some changes over the past half-decade as the band had to replace their bassist who passed away in 2011. Coming into the role is Andrea Torricini who has played with many bands including Wonderland and Vision Divine. They also changed guitarist as well but remain as a six piece.
The album cover is very attractive and combined with the title giving the album ma bit of a science-fiction look and feel. The production is lush and full and crystal clear. T.R.S. is pretty bombastic as evidenced by the opening track, 'Mother's Soldier' which blasts off and never looks back. The keyboards of Emanuele Giorgetti are one of the driving sounds of the album matching the guitars as a lead instrument. The pace is pretty rapid across the whole album, with lots of melody and tons of great soloing. The vocals are clean and clear and in the higher register but nor lacking in power. This is a progressive Power Metal band that doesn't forget the power. There is lot of raging double-kick drum, almost taking the album into speed metal territory at times. Cuts like 'Hiroshima & Nagasaki' are very fast, Earlier, in the album on the cut, 'Black Prince' we are treating to a guest vocal spot by none other than the Golden God himself Fabio Lione of Rhapsody. I think it is a by-law in Italy that Fabio must make an appearance on all Progressive Power Metal albums or the band pays a hefty fine. The album is not operatic, nor symphonic like many bands in this area, they prefer to stick to more traditional Metal instrumentation. Once in a while there is a hint of acoustic piano to add some sonic juxtaposition to the songs.
T.R.S. is a relentless album, with tons and tons of busy playing in the songs. Layers of sound and many excellent solo spots from all the performers make this a dense listening experience. The vocal melody lines soar above the top of the rampant playing and the result is a very cohesive whole, despite time changes and long stretches of solos and dense instrumentation. Flashback Of Anger bridge the speed Metal / Progressive Metal gap very nicely, doing both styles admirably.