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Stage Two - s/t 3/5

Reviewed: 5-27-05


1. Times of silence
2. Voice from behind
3. 451
4. Eternal sorrow
5. Dead angles
6. Field of roses
7. Song of anguish
8. Loneliness
9. Strange feeling
10. Farewell

Stage Two is a band from Germany that was formed in 2000. They began playing some style of rock and went through some line-up changes the first few years, but have settled into the melodic power metal genre and have released this 's/t' CD. The band is fronted by Elena Bihler, whose high and innocent voice creates a very original sound for the band. Although, they do remind me of Headline and Syrens Call at times, and a little of the Canadian band Forgotten Tales, but without the keyboards. Forgotten Tales is heavier and faster too, but both bands share a similarity with the smooth flow of their CDs (specifically the Forgotten Tales debut). The bands Thalion and Seven Angels have also come to mind, but they are heavier than Stage Two as well.

After the short intro "Times of silence", track 2 "Voice from behind" starts off the CD very well and is probably one of the highlights. The guitar solos in track 3 "451" and track 4 "Eternal sorrow" are very good, and this is where the songs start to really grab me. Something with the drum pace works for me as well, and creates the "smooth" flow previously mentioned. As if the first part of the CD isn't good enough, we get the best song on the CD with track 5 "Dead angles", where there's even some folk elements in the middle that definitely surprise in a good way. Awesome song! The following "Field of roses" is an emotional slow song where we hear the mellower vocals of Elena until the song picks up midway and she becomes more expressive. Unfortunately, track 7 "Song of anguish", track 8 "Loneliness" and track 9 "Strange feeling" all have portions that don't seem very cohesive and the songs come off as average, bringing the CD down a bit. The final track "Farewell" is a very good song that thankfully ends the CD on a high note, but I can't help but wish the 2nd half of the CD matched the quality of the first half.

For being the band's first CD in the style, this is nicely done and gets an above average rating. The production is decent, but doesn't quite match the production quality of some of the early mentioned bands. Stage Two wins with the songwriting though, where some of these bands are lacking to some degree. I've found myself enjoying this quite a bit and am surprised the band hasn't signed a record deal yet (to my knowledge, they haven't tried). The songs are very memorable and Elena's unique voice really leaves an impression. A band with some promise and I hope they continue in the genre that's become my favorite.




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