Harmony - Chapter II: Aftermath 4.5/5

Reviewed: 11-21-08





Tracklist:

1. Prevail
2. Aftermath
3. Rain
4. Don't turn away
5. Kingdom
6. Silently we fade
7. Inner peace
8. Weak
9. I run
10. Hollow faces
11. End of my road


Harmony is a Swedish band that was formed back in 2000 and they released a full-length debut in 2003 titled 'Dreaming awake', a CD that's melodic power metal, but on the lighter side. After the release of the debut, 4 of the 5 members in Harmony started another band called Darkwater, and the only member not in Darkwater is bassist Andreas Olsson, but he's also in Divinefire, Stormwind, Narnia and others. Darkwater then released a successful debut in 2007 ('Calling the earth to witness'), which is quite different than Harmony's 'Dreaming awake', as it's progressive metal, though it was heavy enough to draw my interest and I ended up reviewing it around its release date. When I wrote my review for Darkwater's debut, I was actually unsure if Harmony was still intact. Well, apparently they are, as I've now got their 2nd CD 'Chapter II: Aftermath', released through Ulterium Records.

Bluntly, this CD has hit me like a ton of bricks, as there are just so many things about it that have stood out and surprised me. Firstly, it's not light like the band's debut and it packs a lot of crunch, is extremely catchy, totally powerful, and there's definitely enough speed to more than satisfy. While I'd still call the band's main style melodic power metal, there is a slight influence from their other band Darkwater, as there's just a hint of progressive metal. Simply put though, this is a lot heavier than the debut and if you like your metal with a lot of bite, you've come to the right place. Guitarist Markus Sigfridsson flat-out smokes!

Another thing that has surprised me about this CD is how fantastic vocalist Henrick Bath's performance is. His clear voice is perfect for power metal, and he reminds me a lot of Joakim Olsson from Supreme Majesty. Considering how heavy and powerful this CD is, Henrick still stands out and I guess you could say that this CD contains a tremendous production all around. As if Henrick isn't enough, we even get Daniel Heiman of Lost Horizon/Heed fame on track 7 "Inner peace"! Yeah, the vocal side of this CD is spectacular, and when you think of the music too, the CD is truly awesome.

My favorite song is track 4 "Don't turn away", as it's got the best chorus, but every song is catchy as hell and this leads to something else that has surprised me a bit, and that's the high amount of excellent keyboard solos and guitar solos that pop up frequently (sometimes alternating within the same song) and grab my attention. While the keys are very much in the background (I wouldn't call this a symphonic CD), the solos that are upfront in the mix are really excellent and they add something special to the CD.

So we end up with a surprising CD that's much heavier and much better than the band's debut, and I like this CD quite a bit more than the Darkwater debut as well. It should appeal to a lot of metal fans too, including fans of everything from Evergrey, to Cloudscape, to Incrave, to Kamelot, to Vanishing Point, to Firewind, and this CD is actually heavier than many of the CDs from these bands. So pick this up as soon as possible, and watch out for Ulterium Records, as all of their releases the last few years (since their establishment) have been of very high quality.



CLINT




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