Released: 2014, AFM Records
I have a bit of an odd relationship with Silent Force. I first heard INFATUATOR in 2002 and fell in love the album. It is one of my favourite Power Metal albums of all time. I still wish to this day I had heard it in 2001 because it would have easily found a spot in my Metal-Rules Top 20. I learned a valuable lesson that year and that was not to develop my Year End list too early! Later I heard the debut EMPIRE OF FUTURE and was disappointed in it because it was far mellower. I shook it off and hoped the band had just evolved for he better and looked forward to the new album. In 2004 WORLDS APART came out and again I was disappointed how mellow it was. Once again, I shook it off and hoped for a raging comeback to the INFATUATOR style and sound. Even the new logo looked all curly and girly. If you know the band, you can see where I am going with this. In 2007 WALK THE EARTH came out and again, it was too too mellow and I was very disappointed.
I spoke to my friend who has the exact opposite opinion. He loves all the Silent Force albums except INFATUATOR because it is too Power Metal-ish. He loves their more melodic style. It was at that point I realized I had to change my perception of the band. Silent Force is not a Power Metal band with some weak albums that don’t live up to the promise of one world-class album. They are an excellent melodic Metal band with one dark horse of a heavier album that is quite uncharacteristic. It is a subtle difference but once I adjusted my thinking, I went back and revisited the other three albums (in anticipation of the new 2014 album) and I enjoyed them far more than I ever had before.
Now that I’ve extensively explained my personal philosophy about Silent Force, I can actually talk about RISING FROM ASHES. Deep down, I still had some faint hope that they would do a Power Metal album but once I read that Michael Bormann was the new singer, replacing Donald Christopher Cooper, I knew it would be another Melodic Metal album. I have nothing at all against Michael Bormann, I have enjoyed him in everything he has done from Bonfire and Charade to Jaded Heart, but he is not a pure Power Metal singer. Although the hiring of Bormann may come as a bit of a surprise to some, it actually makes sense. Michael Bormann was the original singer in the band called The Sygnet, which he co-founded with guitarist Aex Beyrodt back in the late 90’s. When Bormann and Beyrodt and two other members just continued on and renamed the band Silent Force. So in reality, Bormann is returning to his own band and this is the sixth Silent Force album, not fifth, except for a technicality with the name.
In the intervening six years since WALK THE EARTH, the band has recruited three new members, replacing the bassist, keyboardist and the aforementioned vocalist. Beyrodt’s brother in arms from Primal Fear, Matt Sinner fills in on bass. The band has continued on with their mix of melody and power. They are just as melodic and heavier than the whole, Bonfire/Pretty Maids/Ten/ Gotthard/Victory crowd but not as heavy as straight up Metal bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Primal Fear and Iron Savior. They sit in that sweet spot between the two camps that not many other bands occupy except for maybe Crystal Ball and Freedom Call. Alex shreds up a storm as always and all the songs are catchy as hell. The lyrics have taken a turn for the worse with really simple ideas such as ‘Turn Me Loose’, ‘Before You Run’ and ‘You Gotta Kick It’. Those are album titles you would expect to see on a Loverboy record, not Silent Force! The simple songs are punchy and laden with keyboards and there is good sense of pace and energy on the record. The album title is yet another awkward turn of phrase and the cover album art is simplistic as is the rising from the ashes concept. It has been done countless times before by bands who are working on a comeback album. Despite these minor complaints the music is still fantastic. Fun songs, catchy choruses all contribute to a very entertaining album.
I know now that Silent Force will never be the band I fell in love with and I can live with that. RISING FROM ASHES is a superior melodic Metal album and a worthy addition to their catalogue.