Towersound - From tears to smiles 5/5
1. We don't live alone
3. Listen why
4. We are not so far away
5. Inside the heart of the stone
6. My beloved land
7. Black men, you're free
8. Fly little hawk (bonus track)
Some of you may remember my review for the Towersound debut a few years ago, a story of 3 brothers (Jon, Lonn and Flo) from France and their 's/t' CD of epic heavy/traditional metal which showed a great deal of promise, but was hurt by a poor production. I must admit that while I initially really enjoyed the CD, it's gotten a bit lost in my large CD collection the last year or so. But while regular spins have been scarce, I could never forget the CD's wonderful ballad "My wild rose", a song that (like many other ballads) leaves a lasting impression.
So here we have the band's 2nd full-length CD 'From tears to smiles', and let me tell you right from the start, it surprises in 3 major ways. Firstly, the production problems are completely gone, as the CD has a crisp and clear sound easily competitive with today's metal standards. Secondly, the CD is all ballads. Yep, you read correctly; for the most part, every song is soft and slow. I've learned this was the band's intention though, so their 2nd "real" metal CD is still set to reach us in the future. But, as mentioned, there are 3 surprises with the CD, and the 3rd being the amazing quality. Oh yes, how brilliant this CD is...
I know what you're thinking. How can a CD filled with ballads be so amazing? Well, for starters, let me say that I've never heard a CD like this before. Almost every song contains a different main instrument; track 2 "Affliction" uses a piano, track 3 "Listen why" uses a keyboard, track 5 "Inside the heart of the stone" uses an electric/rhythm guitar (which is the only song to pick up a bit in heaviness and tempo), and the majority of the remainder of the songs use an acoustic guitar. All of the songs have symphonic arrangements that are light and nicely incorporated too. In addition, a flute pops up a few times, there are 3 songs with exceptional guitar solos (track 1 "We don't live alone", track 3 "Listen why" and track 5 "Inside the heart of the stone") and just like with their debut, there's an epic atmosphere present. Really, the CD isn't monotonous at all, and in fact, the songs are short and nothing is overdone, so I'm always left wanting more.
But anyone who likes a strong ballad knows that it's the vocals that tie everything together. While Jon already impressed me on the band's debut, his somewhat deep but melodic voice excels even more here. He fits the music perfectly, and it's no wonder, as he's the band's songwriter as well. I really like how he layers his vocals, creating some beautiful harmonies and his use of vibrato is spot on too. The meaningful lyrics are full of depth and it's now easy to consider Jon one of the best rising vocalists/composers, as the entire CD flows extremely well, oozes passion and is very memorable. But I must mention that despite his flawless vocal performance, I really like how the CD ends with an emotional instrumental, "Fly little hawk".
In the end, this is the ultimate CD for those who look forward to the ballads on some of the best heavy/power metal CDs. Really, if you love Heimdall's "Symit" ('The almighty'), Battleroar's "Dreams on steel" ('Age of chaos'), Dragonhammer's "In your eyes" ('The blood of the dragon'), or even Kamelot's "A sailorman's hymn" and "Glory" ('The fourth legacy'), then this CD is definitely for you, as it's like a collection of ballads of the same quality and style. Plus, the short 35-minute running-time makes for a nice break between your thundering heavy/power metal CDs.
Sometimes the most talented bands go unnoticed in today's massive metal world, but let's make sure that Towersound isn't one of them.
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