Released: 1999, Noise Records
Germany's Symphorce consist of Stefan Kollner (drums), H. Peter Walter (keys), Mike Hammer (bass), Stef Bertolla (guitars) and Andy B. Frank on vocals. Some diehard prog/power metalheads will probably recognize Andy's name as he was previously the vocalist for German prog/power band Ivanhoe who put out (I believe) three CD's. I've been told that Symphorce is a little more "accessible" than the Ivanhoe stuff.
The first thing you'll notice when playing this CD is the fake drum sound, the second is the fact that the vocalist is heavily influenced by Bruce Dickinson. The vocals are the best thing about Symphorce. Andy can hit the high notes without sounding too thin or shrill but don't worry he has range and diversity having the ability to sing in a deeper voice and a more "pissed off" kind of voice. The production of the CD creates a somewhat synthetic sound but thankfully does not lose itself to the production - kinda reminds me of Varga's "Greed" (hey anyone remember Varga?!?!). If you mix up a little Helloween, Queensryche, Bruce Dickinson, Varga, Turbo/Ram It Down era Priest (i.e. check out Symphorce's Across the Plains) you will get an idea of what this band sounds like. I wouldn't classify this as power metal - Gamma Ray this ain't! Symphorce have more of a mixture of styles and are not as intense overall. Their songs are memorable and their chorus's will stick in your mind after only a few listens. Such was the case with me for the tracks "Truth To Promises", "Drifted", "Wounded" and "Retracing the Line." Weaker moments on the CD include: "Stronghold" with it's Type-O low baritone vocals - not suitable for this band; the balled "Forevermore" was weak and even has a weak solo, the same goes for the ballad "Sea Of Life." The CD kind of fades out with a whimper, not like the fire of the first half of the CD. If they would of kept up that intensity for the full CD I would of been much more happy. In fact, if I was rating this CD on the first half alone I probably would of given it 4.5 out of five!!
More information on Symphorce is available at their official webpage at http://www.symphorce.com
- it's worth checking out for the graphics alone! According to their webpage, they have recently parted ways with their lead guitarist, maybe they will replace him with someone who is a little more intense! A replacement will soon be named and the next CD is expected out by the summer of 2000.