Add another 'super-group' to the progressive/power metal mix, this time in the form of Fool's Game. The band features former Division guitarist Matt Crooks, and he's joined by drum legend John Macaluso (Yngwie Malmsteen, Ark, Chris Caffery, TNT), Redemption's Nick Van Dyk on keyboards, Pharaoh's Matt Johnson on lead guitars, and lead singer Lars F. Larsen from Manticora. These guys have put together a powerful debut statement here on Reality Divine, an album that will instantly appeal to fans of 90's era Savatage, Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Manticora, and perhaps Iron Maiden.
Things kick off in regal fashion with the two thunderous openers "Mass Psychosis" and "When the Beginnings Meets the End", each one a dynamite example of melodic power metal with plenty of complex passages and powerful vocals. Larson steals the show with his powerful, soaring vocals, often times doing battle with some effective growls from Crooks, and there's no shortage of tasty riffs and blazing drum work from Macaluso. The catchy "Sowing Dead Seeds" is a real melodic number with a great chorus and some dazzling keyboard work from Van Dyk, and this leads into the driving "As The Field Of Dreams Was Abandoned", a piece that's adorned with plenty of dazzling lead work and complex riffs from Johnson & Crooks. Former Control Denied and current Pharaoh vocalist Tim Aymar makes an appearance on the epic sounding "The Conqueror Worm", one of the strongest cuts here, a real majestic but heavy prog-metal number complete with shuffling rhythms and intricate guitar work, as well as layers of vocals from Aymar, Larson, and Crooks. After the brief instrumental "Prelude To The Fair" (which features some tasty piano and lead guitar) comes the complex "She Moved Through The Fair", another majestic power/prog metal number with the band firing on all cylinders, especially Macaluso, who is just incredible to listen to as he throws in wild jazz fusion styled fills throughout this crushing metal track. The galloping "The Wild Swans At Coole" follows, as Van Dyk cuts through the metallic sheen of guitars with his stabbing synth blasts while Larson sings his heart out, and the CD closes out with the classy metal of "On Endless Planes Of Ignorance", a real tasty number punctuated by Johnson's mesmerizing neo-classical shredding, symphonic keyboards, and huge, driving guitar riffs.
In a time when the so-called 'super-group' more often than not fails to excite or last more than an album or two, Fool's Game delivers on all fronts right from the get-go. Reality Divine is a very solid, enjoyable slab of progressive & power metal songs, long on superb, tight musicianship, memorable melodies, and powerful vocals. Here's hoping that these guys decide to do this again in the near future.
- Mass Psychosis
- When The Beginning Meets The End
- Sowing Dead Seeds
- As The Field Of Dreams Was Abandoned
- The Conqueror Worm
- Prelude To The Fair
- She Moved Through The Fair
- The Wild Swans At Coole
- On Endless Planes Of Ignorance