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Level 10: Chapter One

Powerhouse vocalist Russell Allen is quickly becoming one of the busiest singers in heavy metal. Along with his regular gig in progressive metal juggernaut Symphony X, he also juggles duty in Adrenaline Mob, records with Jorn Lande, guests on any number of releases from other artists, and now has started this new project with Primal Fear/Sinner/Voodoo Circle/Silent Force bassist Mat Sinner, titled Level 10. Also in the band are Masterplan/ex-Helloween guitarist Roland Grapow, Primal Fear/Voodoo Circle guitarist Alex Beyrodt, former Primal Fear drummer Randy Black, and Voodoo Circle/Hardline keyboard player Alessandro Del Vecchio. As you can probably imagine, their Frontiers Records debut is a masterpiece of soaring, melodic heavy metal.

Led by Allen's powerful vocals, the band tears through a dozen guitar heavy but highly melodic songs here on Chapter One, with the formula not straying too far from what you would expect from Primal Fear or Allen/Lande. There's really not much progressive metal ala Symphony X, no modern metal quite like Adrenaline Mob, nor the classic rock strains of Voodoo Circle, instead the majority of the album is just splendid European styled melodic power metal. "Soul of a Warrior" and "One Way Street" both cook with some super crunch-o-rama guitar riffs from Grapow & Beyrodt, while "Blasphemy" mixes keyboard heavy progressive metal with bone crunching riffs & venomous vocals for what might be the heaviest tune on the album. "Last Man on Earth" absolutely soars, while "Scream and Shout" is a perfect '80s styled anthemic headbanger. Those who were hoping to hear a ballad or two from this outfit will love the tender "All Hope is Gone", a great vehicle for Allen's poignant vocals, and "Forevermore" sees the singer deliver his trademark melodic lines over some majestic musical arrangements. However, if it's crushing Primal Fear styled power metal you were hoping for, the band cranks out the manic "Demonized", the fiery "Cry No More", and the epic sounding "Voice of the Wilderness" to satisfy those needs.

What's so compelling about Chapter One is the amount of variety on display. We all know the ridiculous pedigree of each member, so there's no surprises there, but there's a perfect meshing of all their musical & compositional talents that has resulted in a compelling & enjoyable heavy metal album that doesn't shortchange the listener one bit from a melodic or heaviness perspective. Job well done on all fronts, and hopefully this is not a one-off and we see more from this outfit in the future.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!


Track Listing
01.Cry No More
02.Soul Of A Warrior
03.No Turning Back
04.One Way Street
05.Blasphemy
06.Last Man On Earth
07.Scream And Shout
08.Voice Of The Wilderness
09.All Hope Is Gone
10.Demonized
11.The Soul Is Eternal
12.Forevermore

Added: January 4th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band @ Frontiers Records
Hits: 2785
Language: english

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