Tyranny of Hours: Debut
Finally another female power - progressive rock band from the Great Pacific Northwest that will help continue to open the door to more from the genre to inhabit this northern wilderness.
This area of the world is full of the mysticism and magic that so many of the bands in this genre write and sing about throughout the world. There are too many to mention destinations in the Pac Northwest for future video projects. The Pacific Northwest is full of recording studios and there is an abundance of indoor and outdoor venues. What has been lacking was the talent and artistic creators to fill those venues and recording studios. With Cry for Eden and now Tyranny of Hours, the list of potential global talent continues to grow. The nice thing about this new growth is that these bands are already talented enough and prepared to compete on the global stage.
Tyranny of Hours is made up of Michelle Mattair, on lead vocals; Don Graham, on guitar; Larry London, on drums; and Jordan Harrington, on bass. James Borst of Cry for Eden plays keyboards as a guest artist, increasing the collaborative spirit that continues throughout this region. Most of the band lives in the Portland, Oregon area.
The soaring and elegant vocals of singer Michelle Mattair should provide her with an opportunity to earn a place with her European sisters at the female symphonic "round table".
Ok, enough fanfare, let's dive into the music.
"What is Free" opens with Mattair singing, "Now is the time. Now is the pleasure. Feel it – the high ground. It's coming alive. Take all your time. Find all your treasure 'cause. Now I see what is free survives", accompanied by dark soft keys, and soft electric guitar. Perfect lines to project your project onto the crowded scene. Yes…Now is the time.
"Above The Salt" bursts full of power drums, lead electric guitar, deep bass and Mattair soaring high, "If there ever was a time for reason to make a stand. Where lies are not the port of call for captains in command". Yes, powerful lyrics that grow fiercer with each line. Mattair, "Precious jewel that is our Earth. Rent asunder for its worth. Self-hewn kings in silver halls ache to devour it all". Yes, welcome to the Pacific Northwest, where the Earth and its abundance is treasured. Powerful lyrics continue to flow from the elegant delivery Mattair sings, "The flower of our youth bleeds for the feast of elites. Banquet of greed and abuse". Lyrics and vocals that match the power being delivered by axe and drum.
"Amber" is another fiery vocal delivery by Mattair as she waves her finger, "If only killer of my world trapped in amber one inglorious day!" The power drums, keys, and guitars drill home the strength of the short tale.
"Legacy" is full of powerful fast moving drums and lead electric guitar with deep bass at the opening. This is one of the best tracks on the album. Mattair sings, "You dream revolution upon distant shores. But always tomorrow. Today you ignore". The dreamy keys surround as a perimeter of power bass and lead guitar cuts streams of flowing chords that drive the symphonic elements of this powerful track.
"A Breath with Peace" is Mattair's best vocal showcase. After a beautiful flute and orchestrated opening, she sings in perfect Gaelic. The four stanzas pass much too quickly as your mind drifts past the hedges, pastures, marshes and stormy shoreline.
"The Hapless Wand" is full of galloping guitar, power bass, heavy drums and soft keys, before Mattair lights the flame, "A secret to pillage the Cosmos to death. Wearied on wishes and golden bequests". Some of the best guitars solos happen here, as well as some excellent drum rhythms.
"Transvaal Sphere" is a cool spacey instrumental as cool as its name. Google it to find out more.
"Vain Hope" has some excellent keys and power guitar chords at the opening. The drums blast as the bass cuts deep grooves in the soundscape. Mattair sings and screams on this power rocker. "What's in a name? Well I have always known the lessons of time". The keyboard work by guest artist James Borst, from Cry for Eden, are worth the price of admission alone.
"The Warm" opens with more of that wonderful orchestration like a symphony within a song. Keys, strings, and violin sounds which create a dramatic canopy for the return of the lyrics from the opening track, followed by the full story from Mattair, "I lived a life in crystal cold. Silence broken by the anger of the open sea. In a world that's bought and sold with memories of a time when the warm was with me". This is another of Mattair's best showcases. Her beautiful voice set against the colors and sounds of an Irish countryside in summer or early fall. Music with powerful vision.
"The Path That Lies Apart" is another storm cloud thunder bringer. The keys, heavy bass and thundering lead guitar and drums create a dark whirlpool of emotional music from which Mattair sings, "I am come. Lady arising". She closes singing powerful and emotional lyrics, "Valor, the seed we sow before us. We dare a path that lies apart. No dream forlorn. While grateful for the hammer in the night of our still beating hearts". Nice.
Anybody ready for an over six minute "Dark Symphony", after all that has gone before? Well, Mattair and the band are ready. Mattair sings, "How from a distance it seems you are holding the moon in your hand. And we live in this magical place". Yes it is Michelle. Solid killer lead guitar blades blend well with deep bass and powerful drum rhythms creating a dark masterpiece.
I was lucky enough to attend their live CD release show at Black Diamond Studios here in Portland. The show was full of tracks off this debut album and they sounded even more powerful live. The lightshow was fantastic and hearing Michelle and the band live gives me great hope that this band will finally break to a larger audience globally.
Tyranny of Hours possess all of the tools and talent you need to make a great power progressive rock band. Mattair's vocal range is powerful enough to deliver the soft and majestic moments like "A Breath with Peace" which remind me at times of Sabine Edelsbacher of Edenbridge; while at other times reach the power and glory of the strength of Manuela Kraller of Xandria, on tracks like "The Hapless Wand".
There is no tyranny in the hours you will spend listening to this album. You will enjoy this debut from opening to close. I recommend that you do get acquainted with this band because they do have the talent to take them afar.
1) What is Free
2) Above the Salt
5) A Breath with Peace
6) The Hapless Wand
7) Transvaal Sphere
9) The Warm
10) The Path That Lies Apart
11) Dark Symphony
Added: August 11th 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: tyrannyofhours.net/
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