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Ebony Ark - Decoder 4/5

Reviewed: 5-13-05


1. In our memories
2. Dead men's lives
3. Damned by the past
4. Thorn of ice
5. Night's cold symphony
6. Desire
7. Farewell
8. Humans or beasts
9. Searching for an answer
10. Dreaming silence
11. Ball and chain

I received this CD only knowing the band was female fronted and somewhere within my style tastes. Let me say, this has been a pleasant surprise, and a CD that I'm going to crave very regularly. I'm constantly reminded of one of my favorite bands while listening to this... that being the unique progressive power metal band Evergrey. Ebony Ark is definitely a power metal band, as there is plenty of speed and a good dose of crunch, but the progressive elements are surely present, and the musical similarities to Evergrey is remarkable. The pace, atmospheric keyboards in the background, and lots of strong hooks, are all there. Evergrey is considered a dark progressive power metal band however, and I don't feel Ebony Ark has the same "dark" feeling.

As mentioned, Ebony Ark is female fronted, by a somewhat diverse vocalist Beatriz Albert. All you Nightwish haters (hopefully there are none) don't leave this review quite yet, because Beatriz doesn't provide the operatic soprano vocals that have been constantly arriving to the site as of late. Instead, we get vocals that remind me of Eva Rondinelli's from the band Dakrua (although Eva has moments where a deeper tone creeps in). So Beatriz is somewhere in the mid-range, but certainly not the best female vocalist circling the genre. She has some highlights though, with the choruses from track 6 "Desire" and track 9 "Searching for an answer" being superb! Both songs easily stand above the rest, but I've found only track 8 "Humans or beasts" to be below average, as it leans too much to the progressive side for me. So the CD has some strong songs, and we even get one slow song "Ball and chain", where Beatriz duels with some male vocals and the CD finishes in the same manner as the final song "Wasted words" from Dakrua's 'Shifting realities' does.

Fans of progressive power metal, and especially female fronted bands, should have a very satisfying CD here. Although the production could use a little polishing, and I wish every song was as good as "Desire" and "Searching for an answer" (I know, that's asking too much), this still easily competes with bands of the style. Being a huge female vocal lover, and someone who's always liked the unique flavor offered by the great Evergrey, I'm plenty happy, and will look forward to a sophomore release. In the meantime, I'm sure 'Decoder' will get plenty of spins!




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