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4 stars "Behind" is the first album of Superior. The style involved is progressive metal. I would however say "Behind" is more metal than progressive. The omnipresent metal rhythmic riffs are absolutely monolithic, and their sound is EXCELLENT, being very razor, powerful and aggressive. The SAD thing is the lack of electric guitar solos, like the excellent melodic one the "Why" track . The comparison with early Dream Theater circa "Images & Words" is quite appropriate: the NECESSARY lead singer has a VERY similar OUTSTANDING voice, and the structured electric rhythmic guitar borrowed their style; the elaborated drums sound quite the same. However, Dream Theater are quite more progressive, more refined, faster and less visceral. I would also add the lead singer has also a bit the voice of the French Canadian singer Bruno Pelletier! As keyboards, piano and floating synthesizers are the most played ones: the musician does not elaborate too much on the piano, although he demonstrates a good manual dexterity in some bits, like on the "Why" track. Unlike Dream Theater, the other keyboards here less consist in solos, rather more often in modern background atmospheres & arrangements. "Behind" has obviously some Metallica influences, as reveals the "Tomorrow's Eve" track, being very similar to Metallica's "Nothing else matters". There are some absolutely LUSH and crystal clear acoustic guitar parts like on the "Dreamtime" and "Total void" tracks: very impressive! All the tracks are excellent. If you like Dream Theater around 1992 and a slower version of Metallica, then get this record.

Rating: 4.5 stars

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Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars SUPERIOR were often mentioned as Germany's answer to DREAM THEATER. But in my opinion - like VANDEN PLAS or IVANHOE who at the time were also considered German Prog-Metal bands who sound very similar to DREAM THEATER - SUPERIOR actually posses a sound of their own... a very distinctive sound at that. They're not just another DREAM THEATER clone! On "Behind", their debut album, the German band already sounds very mature. Their style of Progressive Metal does sound a bit like DREAM THEATER, but the songs themselves in my opinion are nothing like DREAM THEATER's style of songwriting. SUPERIOR are definitely more melodic vocal-wise, pop rock vocal melodies (even stuff that sound mainstream pop) crop up here and there and sometimes even dominate their songwriting. Some of the tracks unmistakably are very pop oriented, at least vocal-wise. Occasionally they remind me of QUEEN's immortal rock style. Just listen to tracks like "Escape from Reality" or "Tomorrow's Eve"; see if you can also hear the QUEEN influence. But don't get me wrong, even though he is singing with a slightly poppish approach, Michael Tangermann's voice is actually very powerful and quite heavy. The lead vocalist also sound very relaxed, unlike most Progressive Metal singers who seem to be straining from constantly trying to reach the stratosphere. SUPERIOR employ the double guitar formation and both guitarists play with a very heavy and jarring resonance. The twin guitar team (Michael Muller & Bernd Basmer) also excels at trading licks with the superb keyboard player. Both guitarists also regularly interact with the bass player, melding bone-crunching riffs with nimble bass- lines. The rhythm section plug along in the background solidly, at a glance the beats are quite docile, but if you listen closely both drummer and bassist introduce a plethora of odd-time signatures and sprouts of irregular measures. Sometimes it's hard to hear the odd-time sections, but believe me SUPERIOR's music is chock-full of freaky rhythms and stop-go sections. The main guitar riffs themselves are generally played in odd- time, making headbanging to SUPERIOR's "Behind" album a very tricky task indeed. You don't believe me? Try it yourself... Overall though, due to their peculiar songwriting style and the singer's ultra-melodic approach (which I find to be too sweet and lacking aggression), I find myself a bit distracted. I do love to death DREAM THEATER's style of Progressive Metal and the scores of bands that emulate the style, maybe this is why it's a bit hard for me to swallow SUPERIOR's more unique approach. Or maybe the pop oriented vocals when mixed with such heavy metallic sound just doesn't seem appropriate? Anyway, it's clear that SUPERIOR - even on their debut album - are one solid act and that the talented group have certainly found their own niche in sound and musical style. But I have to emphasize again that if you want to hear Prog-Metal in the vein of DREAM THEATER, SUPERIOR is not the right choice for you. Sure, the chugga-chugga guitar riffs are there, the industrious keyboard layering, the odd-time rhythms and the operatic vocals are all there... but if you listen closely it's a very different brand of Progressive Metal. * DD - Paradigma Records/Star 105.5 FM (Surabaya, Indonesia) *
Report this review (#24163)
Posted Sunday, January 9, 2005 | Review Permalink

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