1. Ride The Storm 2. No One Lives Forever 3. Hold On 4. Once Again 5. Master Of My Destiny 6. Heroes 7. Death Comes In Disguise 8. Merry Minstrel 9. Spread Your Wings 10. Iron Hand 11. Heart Attack 12. Worlds Apart
Those who know me well know that I have been quite a fan of German metal merchants Sinner since being dazzled by their 2000 release The End Of Sanctuary. Among the Black Forest alchemists responsible for that minor metal marvel was Alex Beyrodt. Often considered the epic/ progressive half of Sinner’s dual-guitar engine, Beyrodt gave additional credence to that description when he teamed up with American vocalist D.C. Cooper (ex-Royal Hunt) to form Silent Force. The band’s debut album The Empire Of Future showed the guitarist beginning to unleash more of the epic metal he had only produced in limited doses as a member of Sinner, yet despite being a more than capable effort, the album struck me as somewhat cold and unwelcoming. The band’s sophomore effort Infatuator was a modest improvement in my judgment, featuring better integration of keyboards, while also seemingly bearing a slight influence from Beyrodt’s brief stint with Primal Fear. Though Infatuator did not quite have me… um… infatuated, I saw big potential in the group at this point.
Proving my suspicion that much better things lay ahead for the band (at least creatively), Worlds Apart is a huge leap forward in just about every department. Alexander Beyrodt (no longer just Alex!), tellingly, is credited with “Guitars, Koto, Sitar” in the liner notes, and sure enough, such exotic instrumentation provides the album’s introduction, leading of into the exhilarating mission statement “Ride The Storm.” Like several of these new songs, this number is a bold mix of old and new, expanding, rather than completely altering, the band’s trademark sound. Even better is advance single “No One Lives Forever,” a highly palatable and tasteful, yet riveting metal anthem that boasts some of Beyrodt’s most inspired playing to date, and an almost pop-like sense of musicality.
This newfound musical universality coincides with a more complete and human vocal/ lyrical persona for D.C. Cooper. Now a father, the singer has seen fit to include a sonic snippet of his son, Clayton Christopher Cooper, as an introduction to “Spread Your Wings,” a majestic and surprisingly touching ballad from father to son. Also listen for Beyrodt’s nifty Classical quotations (“Death Comes In Disguise,” for example, paraphrases Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy”). The rest of the band, though not often featured, make strong contributions as well, especially drummer Andre Hilgers, who seems more ambitious than ever on Worlds Apart. And while he doesn’t engage in as many competitive soloing duels with Beyrodt, as he did on Infatuator, keyboardist Torsten Rohre really does sound like he belongs in the sonic picture now, if there was any doubt before. As for bassist Jurgen Steinmetz, he doesn’t leap out with dazzling solos either, but his contribution is appreciated nonetheless (Hey, I didn’t wanna leave anyone out, you know?).
Kudos all around to Silent Force. It’s been three long years since Infatuator hit the shelves, but let me tell you, Worlds Apart has proven worth the wait. The creative growth displayed here is quite impressive, leaving me one satisfied listener, while at the same time joyously contemplating what may come next. Forget those Dungeons and Dragons stereotypes (Despite the cover art! Doh!). Worlds Apart is a testament to the creativity and artistry that can, but too often does not, find its way into power metal. So far, only Jorn’s awesome Out To Every Nation has surpassed this album in making the case for heavy metal as true, world-relevant, universal art in 2004.
About this Writer: Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.
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