Release DetailsLABEL Sensory
RELEASED ON 11/22/2005
posted on 2/2006 By:
Progressive power metal is a risky genre to set out to review. When it’s performed well, the skill of the musicians combined with powerful songwriting and passionate vocals result in a moving experience. But when the proper mix is absent, the latent cheese can put the state of Wisconsin to shame, or worse, the vocalist could be atrocious. This new-to-me Texan band called Stride manages mostly to avoid the potential pitfalls and put out an album of surprisingly professional prog-power metal, even if they do submit to the power of cheese every now and then.
The album starts off very strong with the title track. Electronica opens and atmospheric keys come in on top of that, followed by a heavy, choppy riff. It's very Evergrey-like in the beginning. Gary Belin’s vocals here sound like an inspired Geoff Tate (Queensryche), as the song continues in a dark and heavy manner. “Endeavor” and “Ion Drive” are the mandatory neo-classical, instrumental shredfests, with oodles of keyboard and guitar interplay. “How Far” is standard ballad material, with a more emotive vocal performance than on the harder songs. They like to slow things down more than I would prefer, particularly on songs like “Time” and “Role Model”, but I’m a death metal guy. What’s certain is that Stride can write songs, and while they are solid musicians (especially the singer and keyboardist), they don’t need to rely on over-the-top displays of technical ability.
Long story short, Stride have released an excellently-produced and well-written album for the genre. Metalheads who don’t usually listen to this stuff will find in Imagine exactly the reasons that they avoid this style of music. They’ve even opened for Bon Jovi! However, devoted fans should be able to appreciate a well-orchestrated album that ranks near the heavy hitters of the progressive rock/metal genre.
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