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Suspyre: A Great Divide

Forget the cover, which conjures dreaded sonic images of more female-fronted symphonic metal, a la Nightwish and Epica. Instead, progressive and power metal, jazz-fusion and classical music collide on A Great Divide, the second CD from New Jersey's Suspyre. Think Dream Theater meets Symphony X with some intense Pain of Salvation moments. Heavy on the crunch and judicious on the pretentious neoclassical ramblings save for the 10-minute scorcher "Galactic Backward Movements" (with a title like that, could you expect anything other than pretentious neoclassical ramblings?) Suspyre offers an appealing take on a genre that's increasingly losing originality. A jazzy piano-and-drum-brush breakdown in "The Singer," the lush and dramatic orchestral passages that comprise the two-and-a-half-minute piece "Bending the Violet," and some aggressive extreme metal on the finale "Blood and Passion" combine to help give Suspyre a much-needed identity. Throw in some Russell Allen-style vocals, a series of fluid guitar runs on songs like "Manipulation in Time" and "Subliminal Delusions," and a running order that allows acoustic songs to keep pace with lush symphonic metal blasterpieces, and you've got an album worth hearing. Of course, you'll hear some routine double-bass drumming and Rhapsody-like riffs, too

A Great Divide is divided into two opuses, each taking up more than 34 minutes and containing a half-dozen songs. Although the promo copy doesn't make clear what each epic is about, they musically reference one another and bridge the CD's first and second halves. The band originally intended to release "Opus II: The Alignment of Galaxies" as an EP, but added "Opus III: The Origin of a Curse" to make a full album. Wise choice, as A Great Divide all 70 minutes of it should help solidify Suspyre as a worthy American entry on the world's progressive/power metal battleground.

Track Listing:
Opus II: The Alignment of Galaxies
1) Forever the Voices
2) The Singer
3) The Spirit
4) Galactic Backward Movements
5) Manipulation in Time
6) Resolution

Opus III: The Origin of a Curse
7) April in the Fall
8) Subliminal Delusions
9) Bending the Violet
10) The Piano Plays At Last
11) Alterations of the Ivory
12) Blood and Passion

Added: May 1st 2007
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Suspyre's MySpace Page
Hits: 4589
Language: english

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