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Symphorce: Twice Second

Symphorce's third album, 2002's rollicking phorcefulAhead, offered power-metal fans a refreshing respite from stereotypical dragons-and-battles lyrics, galloping rhythm sections and shrieking vocals. It drew heavily from the Queensr˙che book of songwriting by addressing introspective topics without sacrificing muscle or integrity. Twice Second, the latest album from the German band featuring members of Symphorce's power-metal brethren Brainstorm (singer Andy B. Franck) and Freedom Call (guitarist Cedric "Cede" Dupont), isn't quite up to par with phorcefulAhead, but it does attempt to pull in fans from other metal circles. For example, Symphorce gets extra-aggressive with the nü-metal-tinged "Cause of Laughter," during which Franck's powerful and resonating vocals sound even more lethal than usual. Meanwhile, "Two Seconds To Live" embraces old-school metal tradition and "Whatever Hate Provides" slams out some hardcore riffs.

Yet, other tracks -- "Searching," the rousing opener "Fallen," "Tears" and the mid-tempo closer "Cry On My Shoulder" -- accomplish what Symphorce does best: strategically meld progressive and power metal. Nothing on Twice Second is quite as catchy as "Your Blood, My Soul" from Symphorce's last album, but maybe it doesn't have to be. After all, with the band now on solid ground with its own distinct, soul-stirring, ear-ripping sound (which began on 1999's Truth to Promises and was furthered on 2000's Sinctuary), Symphorce can afford to diversify its offerings without diluting itself. Initially disappointing, Twice Second sounds better the second (and third, fourth and fifth) time around.

Track Listing
1) Fallen (5:54)
2) Tears (4:40)
3) Whatever Hate Provides (4:33)
4) Cause of Laughter (5:03)
5) In the Cold (3:44)
6) Take What's Mine (5:35)
7) Face of Pain (4:23)
8) Searching (4:27)
9) Two Seconds Live (3:57)
10) Cry On My Shoulder (6:17)
Bonus Track: Under the Curse (5:09)
Running Time (53:48)

Added: June 3rd 2004
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Symphorce Web Site
Hits: 2330
Language: english

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Symphorce: Twice Second
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-06-03 21:53:30
My Score:

As power-metal goes, this is pretty damned heavy. And although many would prefer to call it heavy metal, it really is power-metal in the 1990s style of that genre: Major chords, upbeat themes, vocal harmonies, excellent guitarwork and even a few keyboards. There's no metal-esque falsetto wailing in Andy Franck's voice though – the singing is in the low ranges, gruff and ballsy, and is the defining sound on Twice Second.

The choruses are melodic with hooks that will stay with you for days, the riffs are somewhat basic than most in this genre, and it is enriched by melodic guitar work, dual lead-guitar duets played over a strong bass line and a guest artist adding keyboard textures. There are a few voice-overs and sampled effects to advance each song's storyline, but not enough to detract from multiple listening experiences. The cover art by Californian Travis Smith shows sea horses floating above the ground before heavy storm clouds. Very cool.

Think of a cross-hatching of Metallica and Nevermore, with a peppering of NWOBHM and a sprinkle of progressive metal – all played very well.

Duncan Glenday

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