(Metal Blade)

01. Forsight
02. Everlasting Life
03. No Shelter
04. Nowhere
05. Haunting
06. Black Water
07. Wounds Will Cast Within
08. Your Cold Embrace
09. Without a Trace
10. The Mirrored Room
11. Crawling Walls for You

RATING: 8/10

I did not expect to be disappointed with SYMPHORCE's fifth release, "Godspeed". After all, if super vocalist Andy B. Franck is involved, it's a good bet that a reliably solid, melodic heavy metal album will be the end product. Earlier this year, we were treated to another strong release from Germany's BRAINSTORM ("Liquid Monster"), Andy's "other" band. The act is the more power metal of the two, although not in a HAMMERFALL sense. The descriptor is a loose fit for either group, especially SYMPHORCE. On "Godspeed", it's a matter of modern metal with fat riffs, traditional song structures, infectious melodies, and Franck's powerful singing. In that sense, this is in fact "metal" with "power".

The chunky, down-tuned (perhaps seven strings) approach characteristic of 2004's "Twice Second" is even more prevalent here. Much like NEVERMORE (an only partially accurate comparison that sometimes gets thrown out) the riffing is thick, and the rhythm section stout and commanding. The main riff on the up-tempo "Wounds will Cast Within" — complete with pinch harmonics — is most representative of the muscle-bound attack. It's also one of the few songs with a guitar solo ("The Mirrored Room" also includes a tasteful lead). Lead/rhythm guitarist Cede DuPont (ex-FREEDOM CALL) and rhythm guitarist Markus Pohl are responsible for creating those meaty riffs and rugged textures. As with any of these tracks, it's the chorus that gets imbedded in one's brain. "Wounds Will Cast Within" is no exception.

The beauty of "Godspeed" is that the band delivers a consistent hard-driven attack with catchy melodies across the board. The album-closing power ballad, "Crawling Walls for You" obviously doesn't possess the bruising riffs and drumming, as its focus is on serene melody. There is also a brief acoustic intro ("Forsight") to open the album. "Everlasting Life", "No Shelter", "Nowhere", "Haunting", and "Black Water" are classic SYMPHORCE rockers with big hooks. "The Mirrored Room" has one hell of a tough groove, brief moments of bayou swamp slide guitar, and (once again) a sing-along chorus. "Without a Trace" is a rocket-fueled rocker with double-bass girth and a shout chorus. Always in complete control of his wide vocal range, Franck even does a Mustaine speak-snarl on much of "Your Cold Embrace".

With all the genre-blending, technical extremity, and breakdowns overtaking the scene, albums like "Godspeed" can sometimes get overlooked. A SYMPHORCE disc is designed for those who just want to rock hard and sing along. This band understands its audience.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).