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An Invalidated Dream Part 1
November 2001
Released: 2000, Fate Records
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: JP

Super-underground stuff! I stumbled Jim Springer and Spellbinder via E-bay and since then I have picked up most of his catalogue. Jim Springer is the founder, guitarist and brainchild behind the little known Florida band Spellbinder. He started a band in 1992 called Desending Fate and he released three, cool, pro-indie releases on his own vanity label Fates Records. (Faded Dreams ’93 , Castle of Ice ’94 and Judgement Day ’96) Descending Fates evolved with a revolving door of musicians into Spellbinder in the late 90’s with the addition of Mike Blair on vocals. The year 2000 provided us with Jim Springers most accomplished work to date.

Where to begin? In a word…Queensryche. A more straight-ahead version of old Queensryche. You can take that in one of two ways. On one hand I worship Queensryche. We all do. On the other when a band wears it’s influences so blatantly on it’s sleeve…well…it depends on your opinion on the necessity of originality.

Spellbinder inhabit the world of classy, epic, traditional metal. The cover sports a very well done, drawing of three flying ice-dragons! Song concepts are not too elaborate with tune titles like Maze, Isolation and The Angel. In every technical sense it is virtually flawless. Mike Blairs vocals, clear, powerful and in a high register, the guitars catchy and crunchy, the back-bone bass ‘n’ drums are solid. The band is tight and Springers 10 years of toiling in the underground has given him a wealth of experience. The production is not bad for what really amounts to a professional, indie CD. The drums lack a little punch. Jim gets to shine in the instrumental track called Fury, where he and Tony Perisi trade off solo’s 7 times! A little self-indulgent perhaps.

I think I’ve figured out what the missing link is…the songs. I’ve listened to this CD many times and only one song sticks in my mind and that being the opening cut, Not My Place in Time. Great tune, check out that Tate-esque opening scream! Unfortunately, the rest of the songs really don’t jump out and grab you, maybe they are a bit too slow, the song-writing a little unadventurous. The CD is 11 songs long but three of those are “bonus tracks”. What’s the point? When you are so far underground you’re looking up at the worms adding “bonus tracks” aren’t gonna add a lot of selling power.

Verdict: Power metal librarians and underground fans who delight in owning everything (I include myself in both those categories) will want this CD and enjoy spinning it a few times a year. Everyone else can pass.
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