Two Forces Opposed
Released: 2011, Self Released
Italian guitarist Bruno Masulli is a busy man. Playing in three bands, Annihilationmancer, In Avum Agere, and now Power Beyond, you wonder how the guy finds the time and focus to play and compose. TWO FORCES OPPOSED is the latest self-produced EP from the band, following 2006’s THROUGH THE CONSIENCE AND THE SPIRIT. With a name like Power Beyond, it would be reasonable to expect symphonic, keyboard laden power metal done Italian style, which can be equal parts enjoyable and perplexing. Thankfully, expectations can be set aside for a welcome change of pace, as Power Beyond is a band that has soaked up vintage American Power Metal, circa 1986 and presented it in a pure and undiluted formula while attaching to it a modern production approach.
Refreshingly, the promotional material is spot on in citing Metal Church, Rage, and Annihilator as influences. Power Beyond does not sound like any of them exactly, but they do borrow these bands tools to forge their own sound. The songs gallop along tightly and logically, with a few twists and turns that never digress into truly overblown progressive territory. The guitars alternate between thrash chugs and speed metal gallops while occasionally slowing down for melodic breaks and tasteful solos. Vocally, drummer Fabio Parisi and Bruno offer mostly mid-range frequencies punctuated with high falsetto screams in the right places. Opener, “The Strength” sets the tone with plenty of chugging riffs and start and stops before the vocals kick in a minute and half into the song. The EP closes with the self-titled instrumental, a definite nod to Meliah Rage initially, and one where bassist Piero Gambino shines. As the track moves along, the band gets progressive in an Annihilator way, while employing Dream Theater song length.
In sum, there are five tracks clocking in at over 35 minutes, which leads me to believe that a bit of judicious editing would have left this hard hitting and pummeling. Instead, there are sections that are overlong and not all that exciting. As it stands though, this is still a worthy and lovingly crafted album dedicated to a style of metal from a golden era. Some of the chugs on here are real moshers, worthy accompaniments to a beer-soaked weekend nostalgia trip for the elder bangers, and a respectable introduction and reminder to the younger metal heads of power metal’s origins.