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Forever slave - Alice's inferno 4/5

Reviewed: 12-16-05


1. Lunatic asylum
2. Reminiscences
3. ...In the forest
4. Equilibrium
5. The circles of tenebra
6. Dreams and dust
7. Aquelarre
8. Across the mirror
9. Tristeza
10. The letter

First off, kudos for not letting the cover artwork scare you away from showing interest in this highly rated CD and scrolling down to this review. Forever Slave is from Spain and 'Alice's inferno' is their full-length debut. It's an exciting CD that blends symphonic metal, gothic metal, power metal and even thrash. The base style is definitely symphonic/gothic metal, but there's a good amount of speed here, with power metal and thrash-like riffs quite frequently. The symphonic/gothic metal bands Vanguard and To Elysium are the best comparisons to Forever Slave, but because of the speed factor, Sunterra's brilliant 'Lost time' (one of my all-time favorites in the style) also comes to mind. There's a violin that's present, not quite as much as with Vanguard, but an instrument that is certainly noticed.

The band is fronted by female vocalist Lady Angellyca, who sits nicely in the soprano range. She's not one of the better vocalists in the style, but she is good and surely does the music justice. We also get some male death metal vocals (also not one of the best in the style) that pop up occasionally, so the "beauty and the beast" style does apply, but Lady Angellyca greatly dominates.

It's obvious right from the start of the CD that the band's not going to provide a slow-paced and plodding tempo, but is set out to give us an exciting CD, as the first few songs are quite aggressive. But although the first half of the CD is solid, it hits a strong point midway with the catchy track 5 "The circles of tenebra" and track 6 "Dreams and dust". There's no letting up after these great songs either, as the following fast-paced track 7 "Aquelarre" is outstanding and even has some Therion-like choirs. My favorite song is definitely track 8 "Across the mirror" though, as it has some ultra-fast moments and easily the best chorus. Thankfully, the CD finishes in the upbeat manner that we've heard from the entire CD with "The letter", and it remains a very uplifting listen.

I know many power metal fans aren't looking to get into bands like this, fearing too many symphonic parts, too many death vocals, not a fast enough pace, or simply the label "gothic metal". But while there are bands in this style that do contain these aspects and are probably not recommended to the true/traditional metal warriors who frequent this site, there are exceptions, and CDs like this could appeal to symphonic power metal fans who don't mind wandering off the normal path. So along with Sunterra's 'Lost time', this CD is one that could really bring in a nice variety. 'Lost time' is better than 'Alice's inferno' and is chuck-full of speed, so I recommend grabbing that masterpiece first, but certainly give these bands a chance. Otherwise, you may be missing out.




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