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Suspyre - When Time Fades... CD (album) cover




Progressive Metal

3.56 | 25 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Suspyre is a symphonic metal band from New Jersey whose career has spanned fourteen years and four albums. I came across their 2012 album on iTunes a couple of years ago and decided to check them out. As the latest album at the time, the self-titled fourth release, was only available as a download, I bought the previous album "When Time Fades..." from 2008.

In the beginning, I couldn't really warm up to the music. It is highly complex with a strong blend of symphonic metal and progressive metal, lots of quick changes in tempo and time signature, and a fairly strong presence of either string symphony or at times keyboards that emulate the string symphony sound. The vocals were the most difficult part for me, not because they are in any way bad but they just didn't completely appeal to me. Other reviewers have described Clay Barton's pipes as powerful and given them approval and praise, so it is just a case of personal preference here. I prefer the sound of James LaBrie or Russell Allen myself. Still, listening to the album two times over again recently, I found myself getting into the songs more and accepting the Barton's timbre.

If you are unfamiliar with Suspyre, then the best comparison I can make based on my limited experience with symphonic metal is that their music on this album is closest to Symphony X's "V: The New Mythology Suite". As I expect this band is less familiar to a lot of people, I'll give a quick rundown of the songs.

"Possession / The Negative". It opens with a repetition of ascending and descending arpeggios and heavy guitars soon join in. It's a symphonic metal track with abrupt meter changes. There's organ and an instrument that might be a vibraphone or xylophone can be heard at one time.

"Evolutions". More of the symphonic approach with some thrashier parts and blast beats, there's a robotic voice near the beginning and at the end, where it announces "Let the destruction begin".

"Lighted Endrhyme". One of the first songs I picked out when I first got the album, there's a symphony that begins the track and later either the symphony or a keyboard sound like one can be heard. There's a beautiful cathedral choir at the end.

"Maniac Main Point Check". This is a short instrumental with a really cool guitar riff. It stands out because much of the guitar work on this album is too complex for simple heavy riffs. It sounds great here!

"Siren (one last breath)". This song is longer and has a slower beginning and ending with some clean guitar and the vocals attempting more passionate singing. I don't feel the effect is captured quite well enough. Of course the music progresses into heavier territory. There's a saxophone solo and a bass solo, and at one point I'm inspired to imagine a symphonic King Crimson. There are female vocals here as well as on one other track.

"Reign". According to my notes that I wrote while listening to the album, this song also features a symphony and as well some cool bass guitar, a violin solo and a saxophone solo, some great guitar solos, a piano solo, some acoustic guitar and mandolin in the middle and it ends with a funky drum beat solo. Lots of solos here!

"Fallen Stars" is a short acoustic song. It doesn't thrill me but it it's good enough and still fits in with the album.

"A World with no Measures" I have noted as a good symphonic metal piece but the song ends without any sense of conclusion. Just, that's it. The song wraps up.

"The Light of the Fire" features a bit of flute with clean guitar and drums, as well as strings. It's a slower song which includes a Sabbath-like riff, going slow and heavy before breaking into a galloping pace. This track also has death growl vocals which makes me suspect there was a guest for this. I find Barton really stretching his voice here when he sings, "lose control".

"Apparitions" and "Let Freedom Ring (the heart of it all)" are the last two tracks and both of them have some electronica-like keyboard sounds, which is great to hear but I can't help wondering why these sounds are introduced at the end of the album. The final track also includes another acoustic guitar part.

As far as the music is concerned, I think they've pretty much nailed it on this album. I don't doubt that there are people out there who think that this is a perfect album with incredible musicianship and there are others who think it's too all over the place. I really admire the skills of the musicians to compose and perform this kind of complex metal. I think I had to be in the right music enjoyment mode in order to truly appreciate the brilliance of this album. It has become a joy to listen to, though once I stop having it handy in my phone to play, I might just leave it alone for a while. Which would be a pity because it is really striking me now as a stunning piece of work

For people who prefer complexity without sacrificing melody and who like great passages of guitar-led music with symphonic support, this album should be something you'd like to hear. Recommended to fans of symphonic and progressive metal.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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