Review: Ivory Tower “Heavy Rain” [Massacre Records]

Review: Ivory Tower “Heavy Rain” [Massacre Records]

- in Reviews, Uncategorized

I want to start with a little confession: I don’t like progressive metal in its pure form. I mean, I can appreciate playing techniques and sophisticated melodic lines but I personally define this genre as “music for musicians” therefore bands like Voivod or notorious Dream Theater are not in my everyday playlist. However, it’s a different matter when progressive mixed with some other genre like Nevermore, Evergrey and lots of other bands did. Now I can add another name to this list: power/progressive band Ivory Tower with their upcoming album Heavy Rain.

I’ve never heard of this band, so let’s start with a little bit of history: Ivory Tower was formed in 1996 in German Kiel. Over the years the lineup had a lot of changes so today only drummer Thorsten Thrunke and guitarist Sven Böge left from the original lineup. Also, as I can understand, the band has new vocalist (the third in a row), Francis Soto, who was also participated in Infinity’s Call and Division Of Madness.

So, Heavy Rain is almost an hour of vigorous power metal with some progressive elements (while there are only 10 songs in the album). The songs here are mostly rapid, with potent rhythm section and feisty riffs. At the same time, keyboardist Frank Fasold is mostly responsible for the progressive elements. And Francis Soto’s vocals, in my opinion, fit this music greatly: it’s powerful, raspy and has an interesting timbre.

The opening “Black Rain” can confuse a little bit with short acoustic intro but then tough drumming and heavy riffs come with some keyboards on the background, which add some atmosphere, so all in all it’s a might German power/speed metal, technical and very melodic. The same happens in “Heavy Ride”, a great banger where Francis shines and some riffs remind Manowar in their heyday. Don’t forget about “Monster”, heavy and melodic song with fast-paced keyboards and power metal chorus.

However, in a second track “Holy War” with rigid tremolo guitars and double bass the keyboards play progressive line, creating not the atmosphere but another facet in the music and it sounds interesting and unordinary, while the good composing holds the listener’s attention. The next one, “Never”, reduces the tempo and catches with its groove. There are lots of interesting bridges and melodic passages, which are joined together seamlessly; at the same time drums are not allow you to stop headbanging. But if we are talking about the conjunction of genres, there is more of it in “Recover”, although there are some sharp transitions from time to time; however, it is not something that cut the ears. Another thing that worth mentioning here is the main line from keyboards and guitar melody in chorus: for some reason it reminded me Iron Maiden from Brave New World times (after Bruce Dickinson got back, they started to add some progressive elements to their music.) And in “The Destination”, which starts as some dark and atmospheric power with lots of keyboards, everything changes dramatically at some moment and music goes progressive completely. However, the heaviness comes back closer to the end of the track and there are also some blast beats when the music returns to the main theme.

Another thing I want to mention is Sven’s solos – they are awesome. Melodic and fast-paced (sometimes incredibly fast, reminding early Dragonforce) and fit every song perfectly. I really enjoyed the most of them.

To tell the truth, I found this album accidently and I don’t regret for even a minute I spent listening to it (it was more than once.) It is a might, multifaceted, melodic and very interesting work that all fans of power metal will enjoy. Maybe some progressive fans too, but I can’t be sure here. Anyway, don’t miss this album!

Heavy Rain will be released on March, 29th via Massacre Records.

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