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Symphorce: Become Death

On Become Death, the sixth album from the German quintet featuring Brainstorm vocalist Andy B. Franck and Freedom Call guitarist Cedric "Cede" Dupont, Symphorce throws listeners a flaming curveball. Gone is the band's distinct and lethal arsenal of sing-along anthems and heavy but melodic progressive/power metal that characterized recent Symphorce releases. Instead, Become Death (like its off-putting title) becomes mired in dark, distant and dreary arrangements, with Franck's fearsome vocals — typically the highlight of any Symphorce record — occasionally sounding extreme and often getting lost in a muddy mix by Dennis Ward.

It isn't until the album's fourth track, "Death Has Come," that Become Death emerges as something recognizably Symphorce. But by then it may be too late. Once the down-tuned bludgeoning stops, you'll be hard pressed to recall any of the hooks from the thrashy opener "Darkness Fills the Sky" and its successor "Condemned." Elsewhere, the verses on "Inside the Cast" sound like some unlikely mash-up of David Bowie and Depeche Mode, and "No Final Words To Say" could have been recorded by a Polish gothic-metal band. In fact, with the exception of a few other tracks — including "Towards the Light" and "Lost But Found," which will be most familiar to longtime Symphorce listeners — the rest of this record may have them reaching for 2002's phorcefulAhead or 2005's Godspeed.

Granted, Symphorce has taken chances with its sound before, most notably in 2004 on Twice Second, which flirted with nü, hardcore and old-school metal. But at times, Become Death sounds like an album by some other band. And, quite frankly, that may not appeal to the legions of fans that have elevated Symphorce to the upper tier of progressive/power metal since its 1999 debut, Truth to Promises. On the other hand, other listeners may welcome this abrupt and arguably admirable change in direction. Regardless, expectations must be altered before pressing "play."

Track Listing:
1) Darkness Fills the Sky
2) Condemned
3) In the Hopes of a Dream
4) Death Has Come
5) Inside the Cast
6) No Final Words to Say
7) Towards the Light
8) Ancient Prophecies
9) Lost But Found
10) Lies

Added: April 26th 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Symphorce Web Site
Hits: 3730
Language: english

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