SilentI reckon Alex Beyrodt has now got all his bases covered. As guitarist for Voodoo Circle and Sinner he has Melodic Hard Rock and Traditional Heavy Metal covered respectively, straight ahead Power Metal handled with Primal Fear, so by resurrecting Silent Force it seems Melodic Power Metal is nailed too. And they’re not messing around either – Wow – No need to give any real build-up to Silent Force as they don’t feel the need either! No intro, a tiny guitar riff…and bang, we’re straight in, double kick-drums blazing with galloping guitar and bass. Melodic Power Metal? I think so – with a top production too! This first track ‘Caught In Their Wicked Game’ gets us off to a flying start, heavily layered with guitar, bass, keys and drums all vying for attention.

Actually, the class of musicianship on offer here is bordering on the ridiculous for Melodic Power Metal fans. Here – check out the members and some of their previous/current bands:

Alex Beyrodt – Guitars: Missa Mercuria, Primal Fear, Sinner, Voodoo Circle, Mat Sinner, ex-The Sygnet, ex-Wild Axes
Mat Sinner – Bass: Goddess Shiva, Kiske/Somerville, Primal Fear, Sinner, Voodoo Circle, Mat Sinner, ex-Rick Renstrom, ex-Beast of Prey, ex-Cans
Alessandro Del Vecchio – Keyboards: Edge of Forever, Gianluca Ferro, Brunorock, Hardline, Moonstone Project, ex-Eden’s Curse, ex-Fury N Grace, ex-Strings 24
Michael Bormann – Vocals: PowerWorld, Redrum, ex-TAX, ex-The Sygnet, ex-Biss, ex-Bloodbound, ex-Letter X, ex-Bonfire
André Hilgers – Drums: Lingua Mortis Orchestra, Rage, Sinner, ex-Ninja, ex-Nuclear Blast Allstars, ex-The Sygnet, ex-Universe, ex-Axxis, ex-Empire, ex-Razorback, ex-Vanize, ex-Mendacious Messiah, ex-Bourbon $treet

Good eh? I expect to see Kittens being had by many a Melodic Metal fan! And so we should with a band of this pedigree – but after a hiatus of 6 years can they still write a decent song…and will it work without D.C Cooper? For those not ‘in the know’, this the first Silent Force release NOT to feature former Royal Hunt vocalist D.C. Cooper. I must confess that D.C. was the reason I bought the first two excellent Silent Force records (after wondering what he was up to post Royal Hunt). That said, I personally didn’t really get along with 2007’s ‘Walk The Earth’. It’s a damn fine release that any band should be proud of, but ironically, it was probably D.C’s slightly laboured, ‘by numbers’ sounding vocal lines, that it just left me a little cold. It’s a faultless vocal performance as always, but it just felt to me like his heart wasn’t quite in it.

Not like “Rise From Ashes’” Now this I like! The vocals themselves seem just slightly lower in the mix than previous outings, but they are all delivered as perfectly as you would expect from a quality vocalist like Michael Bormann. He has the kind of timeless Metal voice that blends with the music so well (hence the illusion that they are slightly lower in the mix). On paper, Michael Bormann probably wouldn’t have been my first choice to replace D.C. Cooper…but he is now I’ve heard this! It all works so well, his tone, delivery, range – his voice just gels on every track. The secret of a really top-notch Melodic Power Metal album is the balance, and I think Silent Force 2013 have got it just about right – Not too Melodic, but catchy enough to make every song memorable, but not too out-and-out powerful to frighten away your average Melodic Rock/Metal fan. The power on display is uppermost, but with little guitar and keyboard twists littered everywhere…and always with a memorable hook waiting to grab you. The feeling, zest and determination is all there, just as it was on their debut…but now there is more! Take ‘Living To Die’ for instance. Back in “the day” we would all have screamed Hit Single – it has a great chorus, catchy riff and excellent arrangement – great stuff. So OK, they can write an attention grabber…to be fair, they can write a load of them! What a pleasure it is to hear a band at the top of their game writing song after song of pure class within it’s given genre! It seems trite to pick out individual songs – there’s no point, basically if you like this style then pretty much every one is a gem, or, if you are slightly more reserved, every song is laden with qualities and moments that will keep your interest.

This is right up there with the best MPM albums (we have to abbreviate nowadays don’t we?) of the year. It has immediacy yet plenty that unveils itself on further listens. It’s suitably different to Primal Fear, Sinner, Voodoo Circle and the other Alex Beyrodt involved bands, making it a totally justified project…as if the fact that it’s a Bloody Good Album isn’t justification enough! A truly professional, top class example of well written, perfectly executed Melodic Power Metal.

(8.5/10 Andy Barker)