On The Cusp Of Change
Released: 2013, Scarlet Records
I can’t think of too many heavy metal bands from Israel that have gained international attention, much less melodic progressive/power metal ones. With that in mind, I was pleased to discover Red Rose, a band which only formed in 2010 and already has two albums out. The first, LIVE THE LIFE YOU’VE IMAGINED was released in 2011, and this year the band has put out the album of our current discussion, ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE.
As I said above, Red Rose resides firmly in the progressive power metal sphere, so much so that this album was produced by power metal legend Tommy Hansen (Helloween, Circus Maximus, Heavenly, Force of Evil, Jorn, Pretty Maids, Wuthering Heights etc.etc. etc.). This means you know exactly what you’re going to get when the album starts; high, powerful vocals, crunchy guitars, swirling keyboards, and enough hooks to catchy a whale. To that end, ON THE CUSP OF CHANGE doesn’t disappoint – at least initially. The first three songs, “When Roses Faded”, “Chasing Freedom”, and “King of the Local Crowd” are both energetic and grandiose, led by Leve Laiter’s strong vocal performance. The album slips though, with two ballads in a row “Original Sin” (concept-album sounding ballad) and “Alone in the Night” (‘80s power ballad). The following songs don’t quite manage to fully regain the momentum of the opening songs, although the album does end with the best ballad of the three, “Seize the Day” being a sombre yet hopeful ballad that carries poignancy for everyone, but especially, I imagine, for the band, considering where they come from.
Throughout the album, the whole band shines musically, but special mention must be made of Leve Laiter’s vocals. He doesn’t have an eight-octave range like Rob Halford, but his voice is clear, powerful, and full of charisma. I’d happily listen to him sing just about anything. Similarly, keyboardist Deion Kristen impresses with a flawless, virtuoso performance, which is key as the band’s music relies heavily on keyboards and pushes him to the fore of the mix.
Red Rose may not have found t he holy grail of power metal quite yet, but this album shows that they are definitely getting close – the potential here is palpable. The more I listen, the more I like this band and I heartily recommend them to power metal fans.