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Towersound - Who's guilty? 3.5/5

Reviewed: 7-1-10


1. In slow motion
2. Seven sins on six strings
3. Who's guilty?
4. It's up to me
5. Breathe life into me
6. Believe it's your day
7. The demons playground
8. Strings over-drive
9. I'll come on your way
10. No mercy
11. Quartet no. 11 in B minor

As major metal fans, we're all aware that bands often change their style and line-ups are regularly changed. Some bands continue on for many years releasing CD after CD, while some bands never pass the demo stage. So while Towersound's story is not surprising, in my mind, it's saddening...

Regular readers of Metal CD Ratings probably already know that I have fully reviewed Towersound's first 2 CDs, so 'Who's guilty?' is their 3rd. Comprised of 3 brothers (vocalist/keyboardist Jon, guitarist Lonn and drummer Flo), the band released their 's/t' debut - a decent effort at epic traditional/heavy metal with strong vocals but a poor production, leaving the band with a promising but unspectacular start. Then they shocked me with their 2nd CD 'From tears to smiles' - a surprisingly all-ballad CD full of passion and brilliant songwriting, leaving me with the priviledge of handing out the ultimate 5/5 rating and a CD that I'll always hold close to my heart.

With 'Who's guilty?', there have been major changes both before and after it's completion. Firstly, drummer Flo left the band and he's not part of this CD, which is a significant blow to the band, as instead of replacing Flo, they decided to use a drum machine for the CD's recording. Sometimes this is fine and I'll admit that I've listened to CDs without even knowing that a real drummer wasn't used; but in this case, it doesn't sound good at all and is my chief complaint about this CD. In addition, the band has seemed to struggle with settling on a style, as we get a mix of ballads, metal and rock, but not an overall cohesive combination, but rather a jump from one style to another between each song.

The CD begins with a very nice instrumental that's slow and instantly reminds me of the previous 'From tears to smiles', but the mood quickly switches with track 2 "Seven sins on six strings", which sounds out of place to someone who's been following the band, as it's most definitely rock. Track 3 "Who's guilty?" thankfully returns to the ballad style of 'From tears to smiles' (though a bit more upbeat), but again the style switches back to rock with track 4 "It's up to me". Sure, there's nothing wrong with rock, but to someone who has enjoyed what the band has done with their previous CDs, it's a bit jarring - especially since the rock songs are merely okay. A few of the later songs do enter metal territory (most of which are great) and there are some more ballads, but basically the remainder of the CD follows the same formula of alternating styles.

Despite the fact that I've written a lot of negative things in this review thus far, I want to mention that even though this CD isn't cohesive, the band's songwriting skills are still recognizable, the guitar work is very good, the keys/symphonic parts are well done, and don't forget that the band is more than capable of providing a beautiful ballad, which is what we get with the handful that exist on this CD. Plus, I absolutely love Jon's passionate voice, and in the end, that may be the biggest reason for the rating of this CD not being any lower. So the mix of styles is discouraging, but the truth is that plenty of talent is present on this CD.

Unfortunately, we're back to the list of major changes, and the one other change is that guitarist Lonn has parted ways with the band since this CD's release. With there being only one other member (vocalist/keyboardist Jon), that leads me to think that they're going to persue solo projects or join other bands. At this point I don't know if Jon will keep releasing CDs under the name Towersound, or if the name will die. All I know is that I can still make my returns to the brilliant 'From tears to smiles', but that will never change the fact that I'm left wondering what could have been.




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